cover image Long Island Compromise

Long Island Compromise

Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Random House, $30 (464p) ISBN 978-0-593-13349-1

Brodesser-Akner (Fleishman Is in Trouble) easily avoids the sophomore slump with another incisive and witty portrait of New York Jewish life. In 1980, wealthy polystyrene manufacturer Carl Fletcher was kidnapped from his Long Island home and held for a week until his wife, Ruth, paid the $250,000 ransom. Now, 40 years later, he’s still traumatized, and is dutifully tended to by the controlling but loyal Ruth. Their three children also continue to live under the shadow of the kidnapping. There’s Beamer, a moderately successful screenwriter with a secret drug and BDSM addiction; Nathan, a lawyer who’s too timid for the partner track at his firm; and Jenny, a union organizer whose chief pleasure in life is pissing off her mother. Beamer is excited about an idea for a new project starring Mandy Patinkin when Jenny texts with troubling news: due to a series of financial reversals, the family fortune they’ve all depended on is gone. How the Fletchers respond to the crisis and finally put their shared past to rest forms the core of this entertaining saga. Brodesser-Akner’s latest combines the smarts of Sarah Silverman’s stand-up, the polymath verisimilitude of Tom Wolfe’s novels, and the Jewish soul of Sholem Aleichem’s stories. This is a comedic feast. Agent: Sloan Harris, CAA. (July)