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Wellness

af Nathan Hill

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
3992263,748 (4.18)10
Fiction. Literature. Humor (Fiction.) HTML:The New York Times best-selling author of The Nix is back with a poignant and witty novel about marriage, the often baffling pursuit of health and happiness, and the stories that bind us together. From the gritty '90s Chicago art scene to a suburbia of detox diets and home-renovation hysteria, Wellness reimagines the love story with a healthy dose of insight, irony, and heart.
??A hilarious and moving exploration of a modern marriage that astounds in its breadth and intimacy.? ??Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half

When Jack and Elizabeth meet as college students in the '90s, the two quickly join forces and hold on tight, each eager to claim a place in Chicago??s thriving underground art scene with an appreciative kindred spirit. Fast-forward twenty years to married life, and alongside the challenges of parenting, they encounter cults disguised as mindfulness support groups, polyamorous would-be suitors, Facebook wars, and something called Love Potion Number Nine.
For the first time, Jack and Elizabeth struggle to recognize each other, and the no-longer-youthful dreamers are forced to face their demons, from unfulfilled career ambitions to painful childhood memories of their own dysfunctional families. In the process, Jack and Elizabeth must undertake separate, personal excavations, or risk losing the best thing in their lives:
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» Se også 10 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 20 (næste | vis alle)
The New York Times describes Wellness as "a unique blend of satire and realism." There are numerous story arcs. While some are undeniably satirical, others focus on the complexities of modern life, tackling issues like technology and social structures with a realistic lens. Wellness is well-written, engaging, and thought-provoking.

In the early 1990s, one protagonist, Jack Baker, leaves his family where he grew up in Kansas, rejects life on the prairie, and moves to Chicago to pursue a life as a photographer and artist. After spying on Elizabeth through her apartment window in a manner that would lead to charges of voyeurism today, he meets Elizabeth Augustine, the other protagonist. Elizabeth also rejected her family, a wealthy one from Connecticut. They fall in love immediately, then marry and eventually have a child.

Jack and Elizabeth's child, Toby, has social issues, and they disagree on the best way to integrate him into society. Childrearing is difficult for them, and their decision to build a forever home outside the city leads to numerous unanticipated problems. They soon realize they have grown apart and may not continue to enjoy the status of soulmates. As they experience issues in relationship status a decade after meeting, the novel delves into their back stories and how their families and experiences affected their personalities and life decisions.

The novel only sometimes progresses linearly, but we continually learn more about Jack and Elizabeth, including their formative years, moral compasses, and careers. Elizabeth works at a company called Wellness, whose name plays into the book's title and predominant theme. When the story focuses on Elizabeth's career, the reader cannot help but consider what wellness means in the 21st century. The Wellness company provides placebo studies for corporations and organizations. Elizabeth's role in the company evolves to include more power but devolves when some of the company's studies become less ethical. Jack's photography and art inclinations as a youngster have led to his becoming an adjunct faculty member at a college. He is most comfortable with hands-on artwork and less comfortable promoting himself on social media, which is an HR concern at the college.

Through the events of Jack and Elizabeth's upbringing, marriage, family life, careers, and life decisions, Nathan Hill creates scenarios that force us to think about myriad societal issues. These include but are not limited to the following:
Acceptance of one's children's dreams
Importance of marital fidelity
Characteristics of people in upscale neighborhoods
Value of affordable housing
Implications of rallying for environmental and other issues
The tenuous nature of friendships
Marriage as an institution and the fragility of marriages
Competence of builders and landowners
Effects of social media on different segments of the population, including viral social media rants
Dualities of wealth and poverty, class distinctions, dishonest accumulation of money
The omnipresence of family secrets
Placebos, fake medicine, and scam doctors, Con artists posing as health professionals
Decisions about what is valuable in life
Lessons from video games ( )
  LindaLoretz | May 19, 2024 |
This is such a big story with all sorts of tangents and offshoots—psychological and anthropological and historical—but at its core it’s about a marriage, twenty years into the relationship, that’s at its possible end and told with so much humor and heartbreak and truth. And some understanding of truth—the truth about your life and your identity and your relationships—is embedded in all facets of this big, beautiful story.

Middle-aged and married, Elizabeth and Jack have the unequivocal suburbia life that has been so revised and redacted and transformed from their earlier, artistic, city life of their 20s that it barely resembles the life they remember wanting and fighting for. Having both escaped dreadful, traumatic pasts, their meeting, in the beginning, feels auspicious, but twenty years down the suburban road, they’re left questioning if they were ever soulmates, ever right for the other. Jack craves consistency and stability. Elizabeth craves adventure and “always waiting for a future that was better than her present.” As the book explores the problem with this marriage, the story seems to have us fall farther and farther down the rabbit hole. There’s no simple answer to Jack and Elizabeth—there’s a meandering, multi-level labyrinth in understanding the landscape of any marriage, and at this point in their marriage, in their lives—an ecotone, a tension between two worlds and two selves in conflict—they’re forced to come to some understanding of their own truths. They have to answer the question: Is their life together still the life worth fighting for, or has it changed too much from its origin that it’s better to burn it down?

This is such an overwhelmingly good book. It’s one to take your time with, soaking up all the delicious and dark places it takes you. It’s one I’ll read again and again.
( )
  lizallenknapp | Apr 20, 2024 |
This is such a big story with all sorts of tangents and offshoots—psychological and anthropological and historical—but at its core it’s about a marriage, twenty years into the relationship, that’s at its possible end and told with so much humor and heartbreak and truth. And some understanding of truth—the truth about your life and your identity and your relationships—is embedded in all facets of this big, beautiful story.

Middle-aged and married, Elizabeth and Jack have the unequivocal suburbia life that has been so revised and redacted and transformed from their earlier, artistic, city life of their 20s that it barely resembles the life they remember wanting and fighting for. Having both escaped dreadful, traumatic pasts, their meeting, in the beginning, feels auspicious, but twenty years down the suburban road, they’re left questioning if they were ever soulmates, ever right for the other. Jack craves consistency and stability. Elizabeth craves adventure and “always waiting for a future that was better than her present.” As the book explores the problem with this marriage, the story seems to have us fall farther and farther down the rabbit hole. There’s no simple answer to Jack and Elizabeth—there’s a meandering, multi-level labyrinth in understanding the landscape of any marriage, and at this point in their marriage, in their lives—an ecotone, a tension between two worlds and two selves in conflict—they’re forced to come to some understanding of their own truths. They have to answer the question: Is their life together still the life worth fighting for, or has it changed too much from its origin that it’s better to burn it down?

This is such an overwhelmingly good book. It’s one to take your time with, soaking up all the delicious and dark places it takes you. It’s one I’ll read again and again. ( )
  lizallenknapp | Apr 20, 2024 |
Peppered with great stuff - especially the opening - but never quite got me in a vice like The Nix did. ( )
  alexrichman | Mar 4, 2024 |
I enjoyed it for the first 150 pages and then I started to really enjoy it. By drawing in so many threads, academia, rural life, East Coast elites, parenthood, motherhood specifically, placebo effects, psychology, marriage...it all worked really well and had a very emotional ending that was nearly suspiciously satisfying, but I decided to just enjoy it and not be a cynic.
  BookyMaven | Mar 3, 2024 |
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Fiction. Literature. Humor (Fiction.) HTML:The New York Times best-selling author of The Nix is back with a poignant and witty novel about marriage, the often baffling pursuit of health and happiness, and the stories that bind us together. From the gritty '90s Chicago art scene to a suburbia of detox diets and home-renovation hysteria, Wellness reimagines the love story with a healthy dose of insight, irony, and heart.
??A hilarious and moving exploration of a modern marriage that astounds in its breadth and intimacy.? ??Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half

When Jack and Elizabeth meet as college students in the '90s, the two quickly join forces and hold on tight, each eager to claim a place in Chicago??s thriving underground art scene with an appreciative kindred spirit. Fast-forward twenty years to married life, and alongside the challenges of parenting, they encounter cults disguised as mindfulness support groups, polyamorous would-be suitors, Facebook wars, and something called Love Potion Number Nine.
For the first time, Jack and Elizabeth struggle to recognize each other, and the no-longer-youthful dreamers are forced to face their demons, from unfulfilled career ambitions to painful childhood memories of their own dysfunctional families. In the process, Jack and Elizabeth must undertake separate, personal excavations, or risk losing the best thing in their lives:

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