The Vulnerables

Coming from Riverhead Books on November 7, 2023

Elegy plus comedy is the only way to express how we live in the world today, says a character in Sigrid Nunez’s ninth novel. The Vulnerables completes a meditation on our contemporary era that Nunez began with The Friend and continued with What Are You Going Through. A solitary female narrator asks what it means to be alive at this complex moment in history and considers how our present reality affects the way a person looks back on her past.

Humor, to be sure, is a priceless refuge. Equally vital is connection with others, who here include an adrift member of Gen Z and a spirited parrot named Eureka. The Vulnerables reveals what happens when strangers are willing to open their hearts to each other and how far even small acts of caring can go to ease another’s distress. A search for understanding about some of the most critical matters of our time, Nunez’s new novel is also an inquiry into the nature and purpose of writing itself.

“A sharp-eyed and tender novel about human connection in a time of crisis. As compassionate as it is disquieting, and as funny as it is painfully honest.” Paula Hawkins
“Smart and sad and funny.” Sarah Moss
“It is exciting to read a book that manages to be so honest and serious, and at the same time so playful and witty.” Natasha Walter

A Most Anticipated or Best Book of Fall: The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Elle, Washington Post, Lit Hub, The Millions, Good Housekeeping, The Week, Southern Living, Town and Country

“Nunez’s subject is the core business of being alive: the tenuous beauty of human connection, the nature of memory, the purpose of writing, the passage of time…. [T]he result is almost arrestingly straightforward. Spare and understated and often quite funny … strangely, sweetly hopeful; there is, it seems, a reason to go on. Sharp—and surprisingly tender.” Kirkus, starred review

“[A] funny and thoughtful story…. [Nunez’s] pacing is as swift as her wit. Once again, Nunez manages to make a story of mortality go down easy.” Publishers Weekly

“Nunez’s ninth novel is a reading experience—existential, beautifully written, funny, and even hopeful.” Literary Hub Fall Preview


About Sigrid

Sigrid Nunez has published eight novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, Salvation City, The Friend, and, most recently, What Are You Going Through. Her new novel, The Vulnerables, will be published in November 2023. Nunez is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. The Friend, a New York Times bestseller, won the 2018 National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2019 Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Prize. In France, it was longlisted for the 2019 Prix Femina and named a finalist for the 2019 Prix du Meilleure Livre. It was also a finalist for the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award. Nunez’s other honors and awards include a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, the Rome Prize in Literature, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among the journals to which she has contributed are The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, The New York Review of Books, Threepenny Review, Harper’s, London Review of Books, and Her work has also appeared in several anthologies, including four Pushcart Prize volumes and four anthologies of Asian-American literature. Her story “The Plan” was selected for The Best American Short Stories 2019. Her essay “Life and Story,” originally published in The Sewanee Review, was selected for The Best American Essays 2023. Her work has been published in more than thirty countries.

Sigrid Nunez reads from “The Friend” at the 2018 National Book Awards Finalists Reading

Books by Sigrid Nunez

The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez
What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez
A Feather on the Breath of God by Sigrid Nunez