Evaluate | ‘Pineapple Avenue’ will get laughs from tensions among the many 1 p.c


There are the wealthy and there are the very wealthy, and whereas the very wealthy exhibit diverse demographic traits, the household on the heart of Jenny Jackson’s glowing debut novel, “Pineapple Avenue,” is of a extremely particular type: the pedigreed, never-touch-the-trust-fund-principal, tennis-playing, old-money-Brooklyn WASP.

This isn’t your bubbie’s Brooklyn, not your hipster Brooklyn, not your hour-long-bus-ride-from-JFK-and-crash-on-your-third-cousin’s-sofa Brooklyn. The Stockton household — large-scale actual property buyers — reside within the traditionally preserved, quaint, leafy “fruit streets” part of Brooklyn Heights: “Three little blocks of Pineapple, Orange and Cranberry streets located on the bluff over the waterfront.”

Tilda and Chip have owned their beloved limestone for some 40 years, and it performs such a central function on this novel that it’s a personality unto itself, with its velvet window dressings, overstuffed closets and vaguely Dickensian furnishings, together with a loud grandfather clock and a probably bug-infested vintage couch.

The couple determine to downsize however don’t need to promote their house. In order that they invite their son, Wire, and his spouse, Sasha, to maneuver into the home, the inciting incident of this comedy of the 1 p.c.

The younger couple might reside rent-free, however the association comes with an emotional price, at the least for Sasha, who has little say in terms of culling any of the objects within the overstuffed home. She will be able to’t a lot as reconfigure the master suite closet with out her mother-in-law pushing again, opining on one of the best ways to retailer “low season footwear, hats, something with a brim that you just don’t need crushed.” Sasha and Wire even sleep on his mother and father’ four-poster mattress, the place “it was extraordinarily exhausting for Sasha to attain orgasm whereas the mahogany headboard that most likely belonged to a congressman or secretary of transportation banged in opposition to the wall.”

Tilda’s not the one one overly hooked up to the place — the 2 different Stockton kids, Darley and Georgina, grew up there, and their rooms stay filled with outdated textbooks, picture albums, tennis trophies and college tasks, together with “an ashtray Darley made in sixth grade that appeared like a malformed mushroom.”

The 2 sisters have nicknamed Sasha, who comes from a middle-class household and who they imagine refused to signal a prenuptial settlement, the Gold Digger; the GD, for brief.

Darley is in the meantime wrestling together with her family issues. Her Korean American husband, Malcolm, has simply misplaced his job within the Aviation Group at Deutsche Financial institution. Once more with the pre-nups: Darley didn’t ask Malcolm to signal one, so she has been lower out of her inheritance, which is able to now skip a technology and go on to their kids. Now that Malcolm is unemployed, and Darley has given up her job at Goldman Sachs to remain house with the youngsters, they’re shifting towards monetary disaster.

Georgiana is essentially the most sophisticated of the bunch. At 26, she is a well-rendered, usually hilariously and disturbingly oblivious millennial who says issues like: “Oh, no! I left my Cartier bracelet in Lena’s BMW and she or he’s leaving quickly for her grandmother’s home in Southampton!” Georgiana’s world is so insular that, though she works for a nonprofit targeted on well being care within the growing world, she doesn’t know that the United Arab Emirates is a rustic.

A traumatic occasion involving her messy love life prompts Georgiana to attempt to divest herself of her fortune. “It was the cash that made her so horrible,” she thinks. “It had made her coddled and spoiled and ruined.” However gifting away all of her $37 million will probably be extra sophisticated than she imagined.

That the e-book is sensible and sharply noticed, peppered with small gems, ought to come as no shock: Jackson is a vp and govt editor at Knopf and has labored with a protracted roster of authorial luminaries.

Because the story unfolds, with the Stocktons throwing dinner events, attending glamorous fundraisers and taking part in many video games of tennis, the longtime housekeeper, Berta, cooks, mops and clears tables within the background. As for Berta, we by no means be taught a lot about her or what she is likely to be making of this household’s exploits. Jackson hasn’t come right here to excoriate the 1 p.c, but I discovered myself questioning how this novel would possibly look via Berta’s lens. Followers of well-observed foibles may have a ball; class warriors would possibly look elsewhere.

Susan Coll’s most up-to-date novel is “Bookish Individuals.”

Pamela Dorman Books/Viking. 304 pp. $28

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