A dramatic, ambitious first novel of a Midwestern family's self-destruction and repair.
Meet the Brunsons of Downers Grove, Illinois: Henry, the once-magical father, whose fear of aging and endangered career lead him to the nightclubs of Chicago's Viagra Triangle; his wife, Julie, who struggles to reclaim her life with a bottle of Zoloft and dreams of her youthful independence; Charlie, the golden-boy son who leaves the lucrative job his father arranged to serve in Afghanistan - and returns angry, damaged, and uncertain of his place in the world; and Barkley, the bumbling youngest, an aspiring writer of geeky science fiction stories who is interviewing for his first job at a forbidding Catholic high school.
When Henry's health abruptly declines, he tries to return to the home and the life he had dominated. But his family - once totally dependent on his love, physical strength, and income - no longer needs him. As Julie, Charlie, and Barkley begin to find their ways forward, Henry tries desperately to bring them back together. In the end each one will arrive at a new understanding of what family can - and cannot - be.
Unusually assured and perceptive, combining narrative drive with humor, insight, and powerful family dynamics, A Good Family is a memorable debut.
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Move Over, Jonathan Franzen