Fleishman is in Trouble: a tour de force teeming with insights and humour

Taffy Brodesser-Akner delves deep into the gender inequalities of sex, marriage, divorce and online dating in modern day New York

Taffy Brodesser-Akner:  her deep interest in what makes human beings tick is certainly evident in her fiction

Taffy Brodesser-Akner: her deep interest in what makes human beings tick is certainly evident in her fiction

Having a character do something irrational early on in a book is a good way to hook a reader. Take The Corrections’ Alfred Lambert, a man working for decades in a pensionable job who decides months before his retirement to resign and forgo his benefits. There are many who consider Jonathan Franzen’s book a Great American Novel, something that has also been said of one of this year’s most popular debuts, Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

The New York-based author uses a similar mechanism to pique our interest in her narrative. Toby Fleishman is a recently divorced father-of-two whose ex-wife Rachel drops the kids over to his apartment one morning and then vanishes into the ether. Is she at a yoga retreat with a new lover? Is she expanding her business in LA? Is she planning on turning on her phone again? Is she ever going to come back?

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