I don't have a "favorite novel" of 2020, for a variety of reasons, including the fact that:
a) I don't read enough fiction to begin with;
b) I don't keep track of books I have read throughout the year with the same neurotic meticulousness that I apply to other cultural artifacts, like movies or documentaries, possibly because there's no equivalent of mubi for books, or if there's one (Goodreads, maybe?), I have no incentive to participate for reasons that I will discuss elsewhere.
Nevertheless, I really loved liked Jenny Offill's masterful Weather, published at the beginning of February 2020, which I read as the pandemic was getting out of control in Italy.
I devoured it in just two sittings it as I was putting the final touches to my course Social Change in the Digital Age, which focused on such notions as collapse, catastrophe, disaster, and apocalypse. But also, on the difference between weather and climate, clouds and "the Cloud", and so on. The novel has an angry but (perhaps naively) hopeful tone that I deeply share. Written in a stream-of-consciousness first-person voice, the book passages mimicked my own thinking about these matters. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Offill says that " I don’t miss the world as much as, perhaps, I should." Well, I don't miss the pre-pandemic world at all. And I don't think anybody should.
Here are just some of my favorite passages:
File it under "Capturing the zeitgeist".