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Saturday, October 10, 2020

'Fleishman Is in Trouble' by Taffy Brodesser-Akner


So. I really enjoyed this, and I didn't think I would.

Taffy Brodesser-Akner's debut 'Fleishman Is in Trouble' came out last year to much fanfare, it was *the* book to read and I was skeptical of its bandwagon. Especially when it was a National Book Award Nominee and I have this weird personal deficit that anything so lauded by Literary Critics is something I won't enjoy.

But I was kindly gifted this book, and after nearly 18-months of people talking coyly about this book's "twist" and how incredible it was; I caved.

My first shock was that it was readable (no, I know I know - but I assume something beloved of the hoity-toity Lit Critics Crowd is going to be like shovelling snow of prose) but this was a book I instantly fell into, and the story of a bitter Manhattan divorce.

I knew there was a twist, and for anyone panicking about a 'Gone Girl' level of upturn, rest-assured; it's all to do with the narration and it's probably the closest I've come to thinking an author has effectively written an ode to seeing through The Matrix. It's also that I started reading this the same week that Ruth Bader Ginsburg sadly passed away; and I kept thinking of her brilliant strategy for gender-equality arguments, whereby she'd represent male plaintiffs to get her point across and turn-tables. That's brilliantly at play here too in 'Fleishman Is in Trouble' with a Trojan Horse narration device that's so subtly brilliant, it about took my breath away.

I will say that I wearied of this story by about the last 50-100 pages... but that's also the genius of Brodesser-Akner, mirroring the very weariness the protagonist first talks about with stories of wronged-parties and divorce. There's a tedium here that weaves so beautifully to the themes overall that I can't even be mad at how frustrating and tiring I found it all by the end, because THAT WAS THE POINT!

Yep. I loved this. Serves me right for coming off a little snobby in not picking it up sooner, just because I thought literary snobs loving it meant I wouldn't ... I was wrong. The masses were right.


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