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The Smash-Up: a delicious satire from a breakout voice in literary fiction

Ali Benjamin

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A family is upended when their small-town life becomes the latest battlefield in the culture wars in this of-the-moment novel for readers of Meg Wolitzer and Fleishman Is in Trouble

AN OF-THE-MOMENT NOVEL FOR READERS OF FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE
'Timely, risky and dazzling' Polly Clark, author of Tiger

'Sharply funny, perceptive, and surprising at every turn, The Smash-Up is a story that's acid-etched and full of heart, intimate, and relevant' Amy Bloom, New York Times bestselling author of White Houses and Away

'Every woman should read this book. Every woman, every feminist, every activist' Jane Harris, author of Orange Prize shortlisted The Observations


After years spent in the city, working with his business partner Randy on Brand media, Ethan finds himself in the quiet, closed-off town of Starkfield. His wife Zenobia is perpetually distracted by the swirling #MeToo politics, the Kavanaugh hearings, and her duties to the feminist activism group she formed: All Them Witches. Ethan finds himself caught between their regular meetings at his home and the battle to get his livewire daughter Alex to sleep.

But the new, stilted rhythm of his life is interrupted when he receives a panicked message. Accusations. Against Randy. A slew of them. And Ethan is abruptly forced to question everything: his past, his future, his marriage, and what he values most.

Unrelenting in its satire, The Smash-up jolts you into the twisted psyche of successful brand advertising, where historic exploitation is only ever a panicked phone-call away. With magnetic energy and doses of comic wit, Benjamin creates a world of social media algorithms, extreme polarization, the collapsing of identity into tweet-sized spaces, and the spectre of violence that can be found even in the quietest places.

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Praise for The Smash-Up: a delicious satire from a breakout voice in literary fiction

  • Smart, funny and topical, this is an astute story of a once-happy couple dealing with temptation, familiarity, fury and the very real chance that their relationship will be smashed to smithereens under the pressure. - Daily Mirror

  • A great page-turner, this book could only have been written now. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me think. Every woman should read this book. Every woman, every feminist, every activist. And then, together we should all go and Burn It All Down.

  • Benjamin is an absolutely brilliant satirist and deftly juxtaposes the battlegrounds of marriage, parenthood and middle-class aspiration with the fight for truth and justice in the bigger political picture. - Daily Mail

  • Sharply funny, perceptive, and surprising at every turn, The Smash-Up is a story that's acid-etched and full of heart, intimate, and relevant as it explores the impact on a family of the collapse of everything in this unsettled, unsettling world. Ali Benjamin is Edith Wharton with fresh eyes.

  • Benjamin's immediately engaging writing captures the complicated emotions and biting humour of these bruising times and their impact on relationships. - Booklist

  • The Smash-Up is an incandescent meteor of a novel, blazing through the preoccupations of our time with wit, originality and compassion. Timely, risky and dazzling.

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