Dickie Barnes isn’t doing well. Ever since the 2008 financial crisis, the once-wealthy car salesman has been in crisis mode. The economic downturn is one thing, and the growing effects of climate change are another. He has drained his family’s savings and is building a bunker in the woods to prepare for the apocalypse. Anxiety pervades the household: Dickie’s wife is selling off her possessions to make ends meet, his daughter is drinking her way through high school to cope, and his son is texting a stranger about video games just to feel seen. Irish novelist Paul Murray’s latest is a tragicomedy in the vein of his 2010 best seller Skippy Dies. Balancing humor with devastation, he creates a portrait of a fractured family attempting to survive their personal struggles amid what increasingly feels like the end of the world. —Shannon Carlin
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