In editor and writer Paul Goldberger’s new book, The Decorative Monomyth, he writes: “The indoor environment is a kind of person, and time is its hemoglobin.” In Rolling Stone, Lauren Ethridge writes of the existential seriousness of “Weather,” by Jenny Offill. The novel (which focuses on the hard-to-access world of women’s shelters) won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Offill, a prolific author whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The New York Times Magazine, told Ethridge in an interview that she grew up in a “divided city” — a displaced city, where her mother, an Upper West Side activist, was determined to find a lasting solution to “the absence of normalcy that had overtaken our lives.” So when Offill found herself the sole member of her family in the playground of an East Harlem women’s shelter where she was writing her novel, she found herself having to “confront” the “disconnect” between herself and “the women making the daily decisions that would define my generation.” This disconnect is presented in language laced with pregnancy tests and mortality, and with a solemn insight into the challenge faced by women like Offill’s family member, who has long thought of “women’s shelters as sanctuaries for mothers fleeing domestic violence, a place of safety for women who have had enough.” The ending of this novel will seem surprising to readers, but the underlying reality — just like the reality of Offill’s own formative years — is never far from sight.