Time Magazine International Edition

On death and friendship

IT’S SEPTEMBER 2017, AND AN UNNAMED middle-aged writer attends a lecture at a college. Her ex-boyfriend, an author, is speaking about the bleak future of humankind. He presents the growing threats to civilization—cyberterrorism, climate change, global jihadism—and offers no sense of hope. “It was too late, we had dithered too long,” he says. “Our society had already become too fragmented and dysfunctional for us to fix, in time, the calamitous mistakes we had made.”

When the lecture is over, the writer stumbles out of the auditorium in search of a drink, which she finds at a local café. There, she overhears a father and daughter discuss the recent passing of the daughter’s mother. which follows the unnamed writer as she recounts a series of interactions of subtle importance. Among the people she describes are her pretentious ex with the doomsday attitude, the Airbnb host whose cat died before her stay and a woman from her gym who is obsessed with losing weight.

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