Imatge de l'autor

Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Autor/a de Fleishman Is in Trouble

2+ obres 1,328 Membres 77 Ressenyes

Sobre l'autor

Crèdit de la imatge: pulled from author's website

Obres de Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Fleishman Is in Trouble (2019) 1,301 exemplars
Long Island Compromise (2024) 27 exemplars

Obres associades

On Being 40(ish) (2019) — Col·laborador — 40 exemplars
Here She Comes Now: Women in Music Who Have Changed Our Lives (2015) — Col·laborador — 22 exemplars


Coneixement comú

Altres noms
Brodesser-Akner, Stephanie
Data de naixement
País (per posar en el mapa)
Lloc de naixement
New York City, New York, USA
Llocs de residència
New York, USA
Sloan Harris and Heather Karpas at ICM Partners



The Fletchers are Long Island royalty, living on a large estate and reaping the rewards of owning a suspect styrofoam factory built on an equally suspect family history dating back to the 1940s. When Carl Fletcher gets kidnapped in his driveway one morning in 1980, it sets the family on a path of inherited trauma and dysfunction that Taffy Brodesser-Akner explores in her second novel, Long Island Compromise. The overriding element of the book is Brodesser-Akner’s style which bombards readers with episodes of stream-of-consciousness, endless lists, and other sometimes exhausting stylistic choices. Buried in the onslaught of words there are laugh-out-loud moments, deep exploration of family, trauma, wealth, and Jewishness. Readers who enjoy her writing and can wade through the length will enjoy Long Island Compromise.… (més)
Hccpsk | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | May 31, 2024 |
A Polish Jewish immigrant escaping the Holocaust comes to New York where he eventually accumulates wealth by opening a factory. When he dies suddenly, his son, Carl is called back to the family compound on Long Island to run the business. In 1980, Carl is kidnapped and held for $200,000 ransom which is paid. The kidnapping haunts Carl for the rest of his life, as well as affecting his three children, Nathan, Beamer, and the soon to be born Jenny. And thus the novel embarks on recounting the lives of the siblings, as well as those of the generations that came before, the after effects of the kidnapping and the guiding influences of their wealth.

Cleverly written with touches of wit, the story gets mired down at times with almost a stream of consciousness accounting of their lives and in particular their self loathing. Both historical and contemporary, it is a long novel (almost 500 pages) that touches on American Jewishness, the privilege of wealth, inherited trauma, self sabotaging , family dysfunction, women’s roles. There is a bit of a fairy tale ending and it will be interesting to see what readers think of it. I think this is a book that many will love and about which others will be less enamored.

Thanks to #Netgalley and #randomhouse for the DRC.
… (més)
vkmarco | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Apr 20, 2024 |
The first thing you'll notice is that Fleishman does not exactly appear to be in trouble as the book opens. Toby Fleishman, successful New York City doctor, early forties, is recently separated, and enjoying the myriad sexual opportunities offered to him through online dating apps. Granted, he has some of the typical difficulties with his kids, portrayed particularly amusingly through his tween daughter Hannah:

"Hannah snarled at him that he'd chosen the wrong outfit, that the leggings were for tomorrow, and so he held up her tiny red shorts and she swiped them out of his hands with the disgust of a person who was not committed to any consideration of scale when it came to emotional display."

The reader learns about Toby's marriage to Rachel, and the disappointments he had with their relationship that led to the marriage breaking up. Rachel is a talent agent who owns her own agency, working long hours and, he feels, neglecting Toby and the kids, as the book carefully notes that Rachel earns about 15 times the salary of Toby, who is on a mere $250,000 a year. Toby's resentment comes through strongly:

"Rachel knew how to work. She liked working. It made sense to her. It bent to her will and her sense of logic. Motherhood was too hard. The kids were not deferential to her like her employees. They didn't brook her temper with the desperation and co-dependence that, say, Simone, her assistant, did. That was the big difference between them, Rachel. He didn't see their children as a burden, Rachel. He didn't see them as endless pits of need, Rachel. He liked them, Rachel."

Later in the novel however, you come across a shift taking place. The novel is being told from the perspective of a college friend of Toby's, Elizabeth. She is a writer who used to work at a men's magazine. She tells us:

"That was what I knew for sure, that this was the only way to get someone to listen to a woman - to tell her story through a man; Trojan horse yourself into a man, and people would give a shit about you. So I wrote heartfelt stories about their lives, extrapolating from what they gave me and running with what I already knew from being human. They sent me texts and flowers that told me I really understood them in a way that no one had before, and I realized that all humans are essentially the same, but only some of us, the men, were truly allowed to be that without apology. The men's humanity was sexy and complicated; ours (mine) was to be kept in the dark at the bottom of the story and was only interesting in the service of the man's humanity."

And the reader realizes that Brodesser-Akner is telling us the complicated story of Rachel's humanity through Toby's story. The Fleishman in trouble is not really Toby; it is Rachel. What about Rachel. Do you want to know about her and her story?

Fleishman Is in Trouble is a smart novel that gives the reader a lot to think about by the end, but it is also a challenging read. It skewers its characters and their wealthy social set, making it more difficult to identify with any of them, be it Toby or Rachel, but it also critiques the social conditions that have led these characters there. Anger is a common theme, both of the characters, and by the end, clearly of the author herself. She is angry that women are told they are the equal of men, yet that is evidently never true, not really, and women will be punished for their choices whatever those choices are. Given the attention this novel has attracted, she has indeed hit a collective nerve.
… (més)
lelandleslie | Hi ha 74 ressenyes més | Feb 24, 2024 |
It's hard to believe that Taffy Brodesser-Akner's FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE is her first novel, because it's just so damn GOOD! I mean, from page one it so totally sucked me in, which is probably a good description, because her style is very (Philip)Roth-ian, or Roth-esque, or whatever. Meaning there's lots of sex, of all kinds. Like she spent her younger years peering over Roth's shoulder as he wrote some of his juiciest old-white-guy material. Because she certainly knows Roth, who even gets a token mention, as one of the authors (along with Bellow) that her protagonist, Dr Toby Fleishman, imagined his ideal woman might be reading when he would first meet her. Which didn't happen, of course. Instead he met Rachel, fell in love and married her. And now, fifteen years and two kids later, their marriage is almost over. They are separated. She got everything. He gets the kids every other weekend. The Fleishmans are in trouble. Yes, both of them. Because this is a book about the dissolution of a marriage, about how hard it is to stay in love, about differing goals and dreams and ambitions, about parenting by the seat of your pants, social climbing, and about starting over, at forty-one, in the age of smart phones and dating apps - and pornographic pics sent from interested women. Toby is wallowing in all of this fresh fleish, er, flesh, and still trying to be a responsible father to his eleven year-old daughter, Hannah, who is already feeling prepubescent pangs of puppy love, and sensitive nine year-old Solly.

So yeah, initially you think this story is all about Toby, with an omniscient narrator. Then suddenly this narrator becomes Libby, Toby's longtime friend from college, who might have been his girlfriend, except for the fact that Toby is only five foot four, a disadvantage he is all too aware of. Toby and Libby and Seth, still a libertine bachelor, were a tight threesome in college, and have stayed in touch intermittently. Libby, we learn, married with children, has given up her job as a writer for a men's magazine to be a stay-at-home mom. Discontented, she wants to be a writer, but, after some false starts, she discovers -

"My voice only came alive when I was talking about someone else; my ability to see the truth and to extrapolate human emotion based on what I saw and was told didn't extend to myself.

Hence, voila! She becomes the voice of Toby's story and Rachel's, and Seth's. And her story is dropped in there too, eventually. It's complicated. And much of Libby's discontent comes from her realization that -

"There were so many ways of being a woman in the world, but all of them still rendered her just a woman, which is to say: a target."

Toby's story - and Rachel's too - as Libby presents them, are sad and painful, and hard to look away from. And the effects on the children are equally tragic. Because all the Fleishmans are in trouble. Marriage is hard, but separation and divorce are even harder.

I've read a lot of Philip Roth over the years, and so, apparently, has Brodesser-Akner. One of my favorite Roth novels is his first, the often overlooked coming-of-age LETTING GO. It is very similar to this book in that it alternates between an omniscient narrator and a first-person in the voice of protagonist Gabe Wallach. And a major female character in LETTING GO, is named Libby, a married woman Gabe is more than a little in love with. So yeah, I suspect Taffy Brodesser-Akner is very much a student of Philip Roth's work, and, as a result, she has crafted a multi-faceted masterpiece on the pleasures and perils of men and women falling in love and out of love, marriage and divorce, lust and longing and so many other things. I loved this book. My very highest recommendation.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
… (més)
TimBazzett | Hi ha 74 ressenyes més | Feb 17, 2024 |



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