Fleishman Is in Trouble

Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Fleishman Is in Trouble
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Fleishman Is in Trouble

Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Finally free from his nightmare of a marriage, Toby Fleishman is ready for a life of online dating and weekend-only parental duties. But as he optimistically looks to a future that is wildly different from the one he imagined, his life turns upside-down as his ex-wife, Rachel, suddenly disappears.

While Toby tries to find out what happened - juggling work, kids and his new, app-assisted sexual popularity - his tidy narrative of a spurned husband is his sole consolation. But if he ever wants to really understand where Rachel went and what really happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen it all that clearly in the first place …

A blistering satirical novel about marriage, divorce and modern relationships, by one of the most exciting new voices in American fiction


Toby Fleishman is going through a divorce, and is feeling quite sorry for himself. Toby is a highly regarded hepatologist working in a prestigious New York hospital. He has two children, Solly and Hannah, who he loves very much. He’s trying his best to enjoy his new, single life (read: spending copious amounts of time on hookup apps). He’s flawed, but generally is a pretty alright guy. But when his almost-ex-wife Rachel drops the kids off at his apartment in the small hours of the morning and seemingly disappears, he starts to unravel under the pressure of being a primary carer. The idea lurking in his mind of Rachel as a monstrous, unfeeling woman is crystallised in his mind – he turns on her completely.

The weeks pass, and there’s no sign of Rachel. She won’t take Toby’s calls, and the kids are getting distressed. There are so many questions: Where is Rachel? Has she abandoned her children? Is someone hiding her away? And most infuriatingly of all, why won’t Toby call the police to report her missing? The answers to these questions are held both frustratingly and tantalisingly over the horizon. But this book is not a thriller. It’s a wonderfully paced, perfectly driven, comedic, heartfelt work of clever contemporary fiction. Taffy Brodesser-Akner is such a great writer – she masterfully balances the good and the bad in her characters, and has the ability to make her readers do a 180 as she pleases.

This is a clever and addictive novel that intelligently considers the roles played within hetero relationships, the expectations attached to parenthood and partnership, and the fallout from relationship breakdowns. Whether you pick this book up as a holiday read, or for a juicy book club discussion, read it as soon as you possibly can!

Ellen Cregan is the marketing and events coordinator.

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