Little Disasters

Randall Klein. Viking, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2168-0
Klein’s sharply observant debut follows two young couples in hipster Brooklyn through a year of changes. Part of the novel takes place on a steamy summer day in 2010, the rest of it in the year leading up to that day. On July 19, a mysterious accident has shut down the subway system and closed off much of midtown Manhattan. Michael, an artist and furniture maker and Paul, an actor and paralegal, attempt to get back to Brooklyn to meet the woman they both love, Jenny, an aspiring novelist and Paul’s wife. Michael’s wife, Rebecca, a cookie entrepreneur, waits at home with their one-year-old son. The novel, told from the alternating points of view of Michael and Paul, plays the evolution of the affair between Michael and Jenny against the physical challenges the men face on their odysseys home. Klein is at his best making notes on the nuances of behavior in this particular tribe of Brooklynites advancing warily into maturity, and in tracking unsentimentally the progress of an affair. He loses his way when he ventures into high drama, as when he gives Jenny and Paul a baby who dies immediately after being born, or thrusts Paul into hero mode in a journey through a subway tunnel. These unfortunate operatic moments aside, Klein pulls off a well-composed chamber piece in which all four principal characters are treated with respect. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Release date: 05/22/2018
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-7352-2170-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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