The characters in these eleven stories are all on the edge of making some pretty rotten decisions. Most of them go over that edge, some in a very big and darkly comic way. In The Valetudinarian Arty’s plans of enjoying his retirement were derailed. On their second day in Florida his wife was killed in a head-on collision. Afterward his worse instincts kick in. He fights with his neighbors, alienates his only friend, and eats only foods that add to his heart and gallbladder troubles. On his 66th birthday he orders a pizza and a prostitute shows up at his door. The calamity that ensues is unpredictable and quite amusing. In More Abandon (Or What Ever Happened to Joe Pope?) Joe stays late in his office and pines over his happily married and pregnant co-worker.  He smokes and drinks and destroys property. You can’t imagine how bad it might go and it’s seriously exciting to watch it happen.

If you like stories about difficult but ultimately likeable people in sad but funny situations you will like The Dinner Party by Joshua Ferris. I sure did.

Sherri M.