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“Just the sort of thing that Philip Roth or John Updike might have produced in their prime (except, of course, that the author understands women).”—Elizabeth Gilbert
“This is a remarkable debut from one of the most distinctive writers around.”—Tom Perrotta
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.
Advance praise for Fleishman Is in Trouble
“Blisteringly funny, feverishly smart, heartbreaking, and true, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an essential read for anyone who’s wondered how to navigate loving (and hating) the people we choose.”—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest
“From its opening pages, Fleishman Is in Trouble is shrewdly observed, brimming with wisdom, and utterly of this moment. Not until its explosive final pages are you fully aware of its cunning ferocity. Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s debut is that rare and delicious treat: a page-turner with heft.”—Maria Semple
About the Author
Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. She has also written for GQ, ESPN the Magazine, and many other publications. Fleishman Is in Trouble is her first novel.
“This glorious debut has the humor of Maria Semple, the heart of Meg Wolitzer, the lustiness of Philip Roth, and a voice that is pure. It’s wild and wonderful and goes in so many directions, each with profundity—my favorite thing that novels can do. How does one's favorite journalist become one's new favorite novelist? With this book.”—Emma Straub
“This portrait of modern love and marriage is blisteringly funny, searingly accurate, wincingly painful, and—ultimately—both heartbreaking and humane. Fleishman Is in Trouble reminds me of the great novels of the 1960s and 1970s—just the sort of thing that Philip Roth or John Updike might have produced in their prime (except, of course, that the author understands women). Taffy Brodesser-Akner can write the pants off any novelist out there. She’s a star, and this book is a work of utter perfection.”—Elizabeth Gilbert
“Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s sharp debut novel is packed with humor and heart. In it, the titular trouble begins when Toby Fleishman realizes that Rachel—his wife of 15 years, from whom he’s now separated—is missing. Where has she gone, and why? This book will have you racing through the pages to find the answers.”—Southern Living
“Everything you could wish for in a satisfying summer read . . . Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s page-turner doubles as a satirical take on modern relationships.”—Women’s Health
“A New York Times journalist known for her incisive, entertaining profiles, Brodesser-Akner proves herself also a master of startlingly true invention in her enthralling, affirming debut of midlife, marital, and existential despair. It asks and answers if there’s such a thing as fairness, in marriage or in life, and if the story of a marriage can ever be told from all sides—or the outside. Shrewd and delectable, this would be a novel to savor, if it were possible to put down.”—Booklist (starred review)
“[Taffy Brodesser-Akner is] firing on all circuits, from psychological insight to cultural acuity to narrative strategy to very smart humor. Quite a debut!”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Anyone who has followed Akner’s illustrious career—from her hilarious and biting celebrity profiles with the likes of Bradley Cooper and Tom Hiddleston (at the height of Hiddleswift), to her deep dives into curious cultural phenomena like the rise of sugar daddies—will know she was destined to write a good book one day. Well, that day has arrived, and it’s just as blisteringly funny as you’d expect it to be—not to mention heartbreaking.”—Sheer Luxe
“Brodesser-Akner, a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, presents complex and contradictory characters with First World problems—too much money, too much social climbing, too many levels of upkeep in their lives. The resulting story of marriage and divorce is insightful, disturbing, and at times amusing. Readers of general contemporary fiction who don’t object to explicit language will enjoy.”—Library Journal