Jonathan Tropper

Families grow old, people die, spouses cheat, and siblings lose touch for years. Bitterness and resentment can mean that families reconvene only for mundane reasons, like funerals. In his new novel, This Is Where I Leave You (Dutton, $25.95), Jonathan Tropper tells what happens among those mourning a father they don’t really miss. There’s the prepossessing widow who wears six-inch heels and a suit to the grocery store; the grown daughter’s husband who checks his BlackBerry every five seconds and yells at his kids; the free-spirit little brother who ends up engaged to his physiatrist; and the recently divorced, middle-aged hopeless romantic (Tropper’s specialty; see How to Talk to a Widower.) This quarrelsome clan meets in a living room to discover that the deceased’s last wish was for his family to sit shiva for seven days together. (In secular terms: spend time cooped up in the house they grew up in.) This seemingly impossible task yields raw hilarity that would be perfect for the next Little Miss Sunshine-esque comedy, one reason why Warner Bros. bought the rights to Tropper’s dysfunctional Foxman family. CHANTAL ANDERSON

Thu., Aug. 20, 7 p.m., 2009

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