Small Business: A Novel

Nothing is going right for poor Martin Fassler. His partner Ed Blair, the creative half of their San Francisco media production company, ups and leaves one day, announcing he is having an “emotional difficulty.” Soon all the other employees disappear also, following Ed to Italy to work on a special project. So Fassler must orchestrate entirely on his own a couple of big projects, including one that will bring in the largest fee his company has ever received. Other forces are working against Fassler, too: his girlfriend won’t marry him (and sometimes won’t even see him); his wicked stepmother keeps him from establishing a close rapport with his father; his new $485,000 home is declared uninhabitable; and he is kicked out of the only bakery where he can buy marzipan potatoes. Walking, as Ed puts it, “the fine line between madness and desperation,” Passler moves through this funny novel, winning the heart of the reader with his skewed perspective on life. Or is it everyone else who is off balance? Parker doesn’t let on.

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