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Jonathan Tropper

The sibling ties that bind, and gag, in This is Where I Leave You

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“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So begins Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and the principle certainly applies to the Foxman clan in Jonathan Tropper’s hilariously heartbreaking 2009 novel, This Is Where I Leave You. Upon the death of patriarch Mort, the four Foxman children—Paul, who runs the family sports store and carries a huge chip on his shoulder; Judd, our narrator, who’s recently estranged from his wife; Wendy, the harried but direct mother of three; and Phillip, the charming, perpetual screw-up—gather at the family home with mother Hillary to (reluctantly) sit Shiva [the week-long mourning period in Judaism]. It’s the longest uninterrupted time they’ve all spent together in decades, and the results are…

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