NUCLEAR FAMILY by Susanna Fogel

NUCLEAR FAMILY

A Tragicomic Novel In Letters
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The life of Julie Feller as seen through three decades of letters and emails from her family.

Born in the New Yorker’s “Shouts and Murmurs” column, Fogel’s debut starts with a letter sent to summer camp by her protagonist’s father, a neurologist with a dopey sense of humor, followed by an apology note from her mother the psychoanalyst. The heroine of this epistolary novel is revealed wholly through letters, with titles that are part of the joke: “Your Sister Said Something Racist to Your Dad’s New Girlfriend,” “Your Hot Cousin Paul and His Friends Might Want to Chill Later,” “Your Grandma Rose is Really Looking Forward to Her Son’s Gay Beach Wedding,” and “Your Mom Wanted to Run Her First Yelp Review By You,” among others. We follow the Fellers and their running gags through three decades of correspondence. Highlights: her father’s attitude toward her “career” writing celebrity stories for the Huffington Post; her mother's inability to understand computer basics and frequent trips to the Apple Store; her wacky sister, the star of the book, who writes in text-speak: “Heya, Just tried to leave u a voice mail but I think yr phone is dead. Or u are probably busy w/ mom helping her make arrangements for the funeral ugh.” “Anyway I don’t think u got much of a chance to talk to Bridger cuz you had yr hands full with mom (omg when she was singing along and dancing to that ‘aint no mountain high enough aint no valley low enough’ song and everyone was like GO BARBARA! GO BARBARA!...)” The letters from Julie’s NordicTrack, her dead gerbil, and her IUD remind us that some “Shouts and Murmurs” columns are kind of dumb, and the letters from Dad’s Chinese second wife themselves seem vaguely racist, or at least politically incorrect, but u prob won’t mind b/c other parts are so funny.

Bahahahaha.

Pub Date: July 18th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-62779-793-1
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2017




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