Read Nuclear Family: A Tragicomic Novel in Letters Online Free - From filmmaker and New Yorker contributor Susanna Fogel comes a comedic novel about a fractured family of New England Jews and their discontents, over the course of three decades. Told entirely in letters to a heroine we never meet, we get to know the Fellers through their check-ins with Julie: their thank-you notes, letters of condolence, family gossip, and good old-fashioned familial passive-aggression.
Together, their missives - some sardonic, others absurd, others heartbreaking - weave a tapestry of a very modern family trying (and often failing) to show one another they care.
The titular "Nuclear Family" includes, among many others:
A narcissistic former-child-prodigy father who has taken up haiku writing in his old age and his new wife, a traditional Chinese woman whose attempts to help her stepdaughter find a man include FedExing her silk gowns from Filene's Basement.
Their six-year-old son, Stuart, whose favorite condiment is truffle oil and who wears suits to bed.
Julie's mother, a psychologist who never remarried but may be in love with her arrogant Rabbi and overshares about everything, including the threesome she had with Dutch grad students in 1972.
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July 21, 2017
This book is laugh-out-loud funny, but the humor is always grounded in the kind of family dynamics we can all relate to. I had read some of the letters contained here in The New Yorker, and loved them there, but when read together as a tragicomic novel, their impact is deeper and funnier for it....
July 01, 2017
I love a good epistolary novel, so was thrilled to win this book as a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads and the publisher. An honest review was requested.
Although it is billed as "a tragicomic novel," I found it more comic than tragic. This is a very charming and witty novel tha...
May 21, 2017
Nuclear Family: A Tragicomic Novel in Letters by Susanna Fogel is a very highly recommended, hilarious, wonderfully quirky, entertaining debut novel. I loved and adored it!
This epistolary novel is a collection of letters/emails written to Julie by her dysfunctional, fractured Jewish family, as we...
June 28, 2017
I am a big fan of epistolary novels (aka books written in the form of a series of letters, emails, etc), as I find them to be quick and easy reads, and this book was in fact that. There is decent character development through the series of communication between mostly family and some friends with...
April 29, 2017
I'm usually wary of epistolary novels - in the back of my head, English lit canon snoozefests loom large. No worries about that here, as the novel is both good and an excellent use of the form - I don't think the same story could have been told this well any other way.
Nuclear Family is thoroughl...
April 14, 2017
I’m so glad I took a chance on this debut novel! It was a thoroughly entertaining read, the funniest book I’ve read in a long time. I’ve always liked epistolary books, and it somehow was even more fun only reading one side of the correspondence and trying to fill in the blanks for the main charac...
March 15, 2018
Listened to the audiobook narrated by a full cast. I would recommend it as a nice way to pass a few hours, and it would be particularly fun around Thanksgiving. Ultimately I think it's pretty forgettable though, and the satire was often at 11 when it could have been better at 10.
September 07, 2017
Stereotypical sit-com Jewish characters. Feh!
June 29, 2017
I am so, so glad that won this book in a goodreads giveaway! I laughed out loud for the first time on the third page, and burst out into sporadic fits of giggling throughout the rest of it.
Fogel writes with such sardonic humor— and each of the characters in the family (including the elusive Juli...
May 27, 2017
This novel is told entirely through letters to Julie from her family and some, uh, not family. We hear from her oblivious, condescending father, well-meaning and passive-aggressive mother, hot cousin, gun-happy sister who is leap-frogging across retail jobs, her mother's bitchy goddaughter, her g...