cover image There’s a Word for That

There’s a Word for That

Sloane Tanen. Little, Brown, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-43716-5

This canny dark comedy of errors from Tanen (Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same) invites readers to indulge in the idiosyncrasies and misadventures of the dysfunctional Kessler clan. Aging celebrity author Bunny Small and her hedonistic, synthetic opioid–addicted ex-husband Marty Kessler, a famous film producer, and their progeny bicker, battle, and express love in their own unique ways as they all convene for the first time in more than a decade. For each of the children and grandchildren, familial and societal obligations bubble up as unresolved traumas in startling ways: 17-year-old Hailey, Marty’s granddaughter through an earlier marriage, suffered through a neglected adolescence; Janine, Marty’s grown daughter, resents the fame that came with being the daughter of Hollywood royalty; and Henry Holter, Bunny’s 20-something son through another marriage, is emotionally exhausted from being named after one of his mother’s well-known characters. While very little happens, much resolution is found between the characters. Tanen’s memorable wry humor (“I’m not inert, I just know my limitations”) and sharp dialogue will leave readers fully invested the rebuilding of relationships despite years of distance, trauma, and pain. Tanen’s refreshing tale of a nontraditional family legacy will appeal to fans of tightly plotted dramas in the vein of Maggie Shipstead’s work. [em](Apr.) [/em]