Oprah Winfrey, the media mogul and influential book recommender, has announced her latest selection for her book club: “Wellness: A Novel” by Nathan Hill. The novel, published on September 19, 2023, is Hill’s second fiction work, following his acclaimed debut, “The Nix”, in 2016.
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What is “Wellness: A Novel” about?
“Wellness: A Novel” is a sweeping and witty story that spans two decades and explores the complexities of love, marriage, happiness, and storytelling. The novel follows Elizabeth and Jack, who meet as lonely college students in Chicago in 1993 and fall in love at first sight. However, their relationship soon faces challenges as they struggle to reconcile their different dreams and expectations.
In addition, they struggle to reconcile the stories they tell themselves and others about who they are and what they want. Along the way, the novel touches on topics such as the art scene in Chicago, the rise of social media and algorithms, the cult of wellness and self-improvement, and the political and cultural upheavals of the past 20 years.
Who is Nathan Hill?
Nathan Hill is a 46-year-old American author born in Iowa and lives in Florida. He is a former professor of English and creative writing who quit his job to focus on his writing career. He spent ten years working on his first novel, “The Nix”. It was a New York Times bestseller and received rave reviews from critics and readers alike. The novel was a sprawling and satirical saga about a failed writer. He reconnects with his estranged mother after she becomes a notorious political activist.
The novel was praised for its humor, insight, and ambition, and compared to John Irving, David Foster Wallace, and Thomas Pynchon. Hill’s second novel, “Wellness: A Novel”, has also received positive feedback from early readers, including Oprah herself, who called it “a hilarious and moving exploration of a modern marriage that astounds in its breadth and intimacy.”
Why did Oprah choose this book?
Oprah revealed her book club choice on “CBS Mornings” on September 19, 2023. She said that she was drawn to the book because of its relatable and thought-provoking questions about the authenticity of our stories, the nature of love and the pursuit of happiness. She also stated that she was impressed by Hill’s “modern, contemporary, vibrant” storytelling style that kept her engaged throughout the novel.
She added that she enjoyed the book’s mix of humor and heartache. In addition, she enjoyed its references to Chicago, where she lived and works. She said she hoped her book club members would also find something to connect with in the book. This was whether it was the characters, the themes, or the writing.