Readersforum's Blog

April 12, 2013

The Most Dysfunctional Families in Literature

11940-1 By Jami Attenberg

Neuroses run rampant across three generations of the Middlestein family in Jami Attenberg’s sublime new novel, The Middlesteins. Who better to recommend great books about profoundly imperfect families?

In literature, as in life, every family is pretty much dysfunctional in one way or another. So what makes one dysfunctional literary family more memorable than the next? Personally, I prefer a little wit with my disaster, not to mention a little soul; it makes the pain go down easier. But every once in a while I like my families extra wicked and dark. I guess it makes me feel like I’m not that terrible after all.

By the way, these aren’t in order of my favorites, because it is impossible for me to pick a favorite! I love all these troubled souls — siblings and parents, husbands and wives alike — equally.

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