The Vulnerables


Once you discover Sigrid Nunez, you don’t look back.” Anne Enright

“I am committed, until one of us dies, to Nunez’s novels. I find them ideal. They are short, wise, provocative, funny: good and strong company.” Dwight Garner, The New York Times. Read the full review here.

“Through nine novels, Nunez has exhibited a gift for storytelling forms that smuggle dark matter into books, which, nonetheless, proceed with bright, good humor. They are as sophisticated as they are straightforward, as death-haunted as they are life-bringing.” Wyatt Mason  Read a profile of Sigrid by Wyatt Mason in The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

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.

“Her Wordsworthian exploration of ‘how much of life is shaped by sadness for what’s left behind,’ her rare ability to be at once wistfully elegiac and sharply hilarious make “The Vulnerables” a gift. Priscilla Gilman, Boston Globe

A Best Book of 2023: NPR, Kirkus, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, San Francisco Chronicle, The New Republic, Irish Times, She Reads and a Goodreads Staff Top Pick. A Most Anticipated or Best Book of Fall or Best Book of November: The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Elle, Washington Post, Lit Hub, The Millions, Good Housekeeping, The Week, Southern Living, Town and Country, Shondaland, Book Riot, Chicago Review of Books, Good Morning America, and a November Indie Next List Pick

About Sigrid

Sigrid Nunez has published nine novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, The Friend, What Are You Going Through, and, most recently, The Vulnerables. 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. In 2024, The New York Times listed The Friend among the 100 Best Books of the 21st Century.

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