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Fleishman Is in Trouble
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Fleishman Is in Trouble

By Taffy Brodesser-Akner
400 pages
Paperback
July 2020

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST • “A feminist jeremiad nested inside a brilliant comic novel—a book that makes you laugh so hard you don’t notice till later that your eyebrows have been singed off.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY AND THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time The Washington Post Vanity Fair • Vogue • NPR • Chicago TribuneGQ • The Guardian • 

A finely observed, timely exploration of marriage, divorce, and the bewildering dynamics of ambition from one of the most exciting writers working today

Toby Fleishman thought he knew what to expect when he and his wife of almost fifteen years separated: weekends and every other holiday with the kids, some residual bitterness, the occasional moment of tension in their co-parenting negotiations. He could not have predicted that one day, in the middle of his summer of sexual emancipation, Rachel would just drop their two children off at his place and simply not return. He had been working so hard to find equilibrium in his single life. The winds of his optimism, long dormant, had finally begun to pick up. Now this.

As Toby tries to figure out where Rachel went, all while juggling his patients at the hospital, his never-ending parental duties, and his new app-assisted sexual popularity, his tidy narrative of the spurned husband with the too-ambitious wife is his sole consolation. But if Toby ever wants to truly understand what happened to Rachel and what happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen things all that clearly in the first place.

A searing, utterly unvarnished debut, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an insightful, unsettling, often hilarious exploration of a culture trying to navigate the fault lines of an institution that has proven to be worthy of our great wariness and our great hope.

Many novelists have written excellent fictional indictments of interpersonal and systemic sexism. Not since Teju Cole’s Open City—a very different book in all other respects—has a novelist put the reader on the wrong side the way Brodesser-Akner does. To do so, she uses a lot of intelligence, a lot of anger, a great sense of humor and a whole new variation on the magic we know from her magazine work. The result is a maddening, unsettling masterpiece, and, yes, you will be moved and inexplicably grateful at the end.”—NPR

“In her witty and well-observed debut, Taffy Brodesser-Akner updates the miserable-matrimony novel, dropping it squarely in our times. . . . Brodesser-Akner has written a potent, upsetting and satisfying novel, illustrating how the marital pledge—build our life together—overlooks a key fact: There are two lives.”The New York Times Book Review

“Electric . . . Brodesser-Akner’s first foray into fiction—set in Manhattan, the Hamptons, and Israel—is funny, stylish, and insightful, whether describing men’s challenged communication skills or the knife juggler’s agility required to maintain a modern marriage.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

 

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