Loved “Fleishman Is In Trouble?” Here Are More Great Books Set In New York City

published Nov 17, 2022
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Mark your calendars: “Fleishman Is In Trouble,” adapted from the 2019 novel by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, is streaming on Hulu starting November 17. The story starts with Toby, flung into primary parenthood after his ex drops off their kids early one weekend with no warning, and doesn’t return to pick them up. The story of their marriage is set against the chaos of New York: the exhausting dating scene, the racetrack of professional ambition, and the social circles that cause eddies of anxiety. 

New York is the perfect backdrop for a compelling story, with a fascinating history, vibrant, ever-changing neighborhoods, and a constant influx of people hoping to achieve that elusive sense of “making it.” If you liked “Fleishman,” give these city-based books a try next.

Through a somewhat surreal running-into-your-exes situation, Crosley perfectly captures the way New York can make you feel completely anonymous, and yet you can run into people you know in the most random of places. The chaotic city is the perfect backdrop for Lola as she relives her past love lives on every corner.

New York is full of ghosts, if you know where to look. Readers who are particularly interested in the city’s history will love Shearn’s story about a Brooklyn librarian, Meg, whose encyclopedic knowledge about Brooklyn comes in handy when Ellis walks in, looking for the story behind an ancient Brooklyn house. As the two dive deeper into the house, a story of a different, older Brooklyn unfolds. 

Mbue’s debut novel, published in 2016, is a powerful story about Jende, a Cameroonian immigrant living with his family in Harlem and working as a driver for a rich financial executive. His wife, Nemi, is hired as a housekeeper for that same family at their summer home in the Hamptons. Both are set on pursuing the elusive “American dream,” but the 2008 market crash derails everyone’s plans, forcing tough choices on whether or not that dream is worth it — or even real.

Though Jaffe’s 1958 novel depicts a city very different from today’s New York, there is still so much that feels familiar. The novel follows five young women in their 20s who meet at a publishing house in New York. They spend their first years in the city sharing small apartments, navigating romantic entanglements, and embracing the next chapter of their lives. From April, who is ready to reinvent herself, to Caroline, who seeks a promotion to a corner office, these young women, their dreams, and their city, are timeless.

When it comes to people watching, there is nowhere quite like New York. Cole’s narrator, Julius, spends much of his time walking the city when not working as a psychiatry fellow. Over the course of a year, on these walks, he contemplates New York’s often tragic history, attends readings, concerts, and cultural events, and reflects on his childhood in Lagos. Anyone living in New York should wander the city through Julius (and Cole’s) eyes.