A Friend of the Family

Lauren Grodstein, Author . Algonquin $23.95 (302p) ISBN 978-1-56512-916-0

In her wonderful second novel, Grodstein (Reproduction Is the Flaw of Love ) traces a suburban crisis and gives especially perceptive attention to the father-son bond. Pete Dizinoff has it pretty good—an internist with a successful practice, loving wife, nice house in a safe New Jersey suburb and his best friend living close by—but there’s some nasty muck beneath the surface. Some years back, Laura, the daughter of Pete’s best friend, Joe, was suspected of murdering her baby upon birth. Now in her early 30s, Laura’s returned to town after several years of leisurely work and travel and is seducing Pete’s college dropout son, Alec, who is also back in town, pursuing the life of a painter in his parents’ garage. Laura does not fit into Pete’s idea of what’s best for his son, but when Pete intervenes, things spin wildly out of control. Add to this a malpractice case, and Pete senses his life is falling apart. An astute dissector of male aspiration, Grodstein brings great insight into a father’s protective urge for his son in this gripping portrait of an American family in crisis. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 07/06/2009
Release date: 11/01/2009

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