Fleishman Is in Trouble
In Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s debut, New York doctor Toby Fleishman thinks he knows what to expect from divorce and joint custody of his children: Namely, he thinks it means freedom and a whole lot of trysts with new women. But he doesn’t expect that his ex-wife will drop off his kids and disappear. Now he has to grapple with his patients, his kids, and his stream of new girlfriends, all while coming to terms with his role in the decline of his marriage.
When Connell and Marianne were in high school, they weren’t friends: Connell was popular, while Marianne mostly kept to herself. But once they get to college, their roles reverse. Marianne finds meaning in her new life, but Connell feels lost at university. As these two orbit each other, a bond forms, and they may find that the place they belong is with one another.
City of Girls
Elizabeth Gilbert is well-known for her nonfiction, but she’s a master at telling fictional stories of fantastic women. Her latest novel is set in the 1940s and is about Vivian Morris, who is sent to live with her aunt in New York City after being kicked out of college. There, Vivian finds excitement after being introduced to the most interesting people and becomes embroiled in her very own scandal, which in the end could give her the freedom to become who she was meant to be.
The Great Believers
This amazing novel about friendship examines the effects of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The year is 1985, and Yale Tishman is the director of an art gallery and on the cusp of a major professional victory. But all the while, AIDS is wreaking havoc in his community. Three decades later, a woman named Fiona is trying to rescue her estranged daughter from a cult and grapples with the effects of AIDS on her own life.
The Most Fun We Ever Had
Sometimes a great relationship between parents can lead to idyllic marriages for kids. And sometimes it sets an example children know they can never live up to. The latter is what happened with the four Sorenson daughters, as each grapples with unrest in relationships in adulthood. As they grow and change, each woman must come to terms with love, joy, and the resentment that often permeates families.
R. O. Kwon
When Phoebe and Will meet at their first month at university, their connection is instant. Will doesn’t know much about his new place in the world, but he knows he loves Phoebe. As he grapples with his feelings for Phoebe, her guilt over the death of her mother draws her toward a dark and dangerous cult. Will must come to terms with the fact that he may not be able to save Phoebe, regardless of how much he loves her.
How Could She
This powerful examination of female friendship focuses on Geraldine, who has just broken up with her fiancé and decides to move to New York City, where her two best friends live. Both Sunny and Rachel appear to be happy, with stable jobs and relationships and glamorous lives, and Geraldine wants that for herself. But upon closer examination, Geraldine realizes that appearances can be deceiving, and maybe what she had wasn’t so bad after all.
This retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma is set in New Delhi’s high society, as Ania Khurana finds joy in setting up her friends and relatives and is thrilled when they find true love. But Ania is too busy meddling in others’ lives to take an honest look at her own. Come for the thoughtful characters and stay for the depiction of fabulous extravagance that makes this novel a fun read.
If you want sharp and wry depictions of family relationships, thoughtful evaluations of class dynamics, and honest female friendships, in both their best and worst forms, then you should read Meg Wolitzer. She is a master at books that take a look at all kinds of relationships, as people go about their daily lives and try to find the moments of joy in between the drudgery.
You may have torn through all the books by Meg Wolitzer (it is, after all, a very easy thing to do). If you are in search of some new-to-you novels to fill that Meg Wolitzer-shaped hole in your heart, try one of these eight books that tackle the many themes that she writes about so well.
Featured image by Jinny Kwon