Drinking Closer to Home



"Riveting and startling....So raw and funny I wanted to read parts aloud to strangers." --Dylan Landis, author of Normal People Don't Live Like This

"Jessica Anya Blau...creates characters that have a lot more depth and more of a past than one often sees in fiction these days.... I found it impossible not to care about them--and equally impossible to forget them. Blau is a magnificent writer, and this is one special novel." --Steve Yarbrough, author of Safe from the Neighbors

From Jessica Anya Blau, critically-acclaimed author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties, comes a new novel of California, growing up, and learning to love your insane family. Perfect for fans of Jess Walter, Kevin Wilson, and Michael Chabon, Drinking Closer to Home is a poignant and funny exploration of one family's over-the-top eccentricities--a book Ron Tanner calls "heartfelt and hilarious."

Product Details

Harper Perennial
Publish Date
January 18, 2011
5.31 X 0.92 X 8.09 inches | 0.61 pounds
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About the Author

Jessica Anya Blau is the author of the nationally bestselling novel The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and the critically acclaimed Drinking Closer to Home.


"Hilariously irreverent . . . . This unconventional joy ride of a novel is also an unexpectedly powerful and multi-layered exploration of unbreakable family bonds."--Gina Frangello, author of Slut Lullabies
"Jessica Anya Blau's emotional turf is kinship, from its betrayals to its bonds--and in DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME she covers this territory with an honesty so raw and funny I wanted to read parts aloud to strangers."--Dylan Landis, author of Normal People Don't Live Like This
"[H]ilarious and heartbreaking....[A] testament to the impossibility of ever truly 'leaving home, ' and the great triumph of this book is in Blau's skillful illumination of how that's both a blessing and a curse....This novel will stay with you for a very long time."--Skip Horack, author of The Southern Cross and The Eden Hunter
"Jessica Blau's DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME is heartfelt and hilarious as it explores every nook and cranny of this wonderful (and wild) family. If you want to know why we love our parents and siblings even as they drive us to drink and distraction, you must read this book."--Ron Tanner, author of Kiss Me, Stranger
"As perfectly pitched as it is comically painful, DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME echoes a profound Tolstoyan truth about family. Many novelists have a sense for place, the gifted ones deliver life with such fidelity that the truth hits very close to home indeed."--Marisol, author of The Lady, The Chef, and The Courtesan
"If you think you've read enough novels about mixed up families already, go ahead and read one more. Jessica Anya Blau's DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME is a phantasmagoric, hilarious carnival ride."--Madison Smartt Bell
"I have never encountered such exciting, eccentric, and lovably flawed characters as those Jessica Anya Blau creates in DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME."--Allison Amend, author of Stations West
"A light-hearted, enthralling read that enables us to laugh at our own less-than-perfect families."--Bust Magazine
"The domestic relationships . . . are brilliantly rendered, a contemporary California version of Philip Roth."--Austin Chronicle
"If you took Jonathan Franzen, soaked him in Southern California culture, sprinkled him with biting insight and twisted humor, you would get a book that tasted something like DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME."--Katie Arnoldi, author of Point Dume
"An entertaining romp through one family's history."--Boston Globe
"The sharpness of Jessica Blau's voice and wit never ceases to amaze me. From the first page this surprising novel takes a classic tale--adult children going home again--and turns it on its head. An absorbing, heart-wrenching read."--Katie Crouch, author of Men and Dogs
"[Blau has] lavished such attention on these people that I found it impossible not to care about them--and equally impossible to forget them."--Steve Yarbrough, author of Safe from the Neighbors
"Jessica Anya Blau has created an unforgettably unique family . . . and done them a great service by placing them in a compelling story that is alternately funny and sad as hell. I don't think I'd last twelve days in this family, but I could read about them forever."--Kevin Wilson, author of Tunneling to the Center of the Earth
"Jessica Blau's second novel is not only a wise and pitch-perfect depiction of family dynamics but also happens to be unrelentingly, side-splittingly funny. I dare you to forget this family."--Irina Reyn, author of What Happened to Anna K.
"A very funny -- but also deeply humane -- novel . . . Parental love and booze and drugs and all the complications of becoming an adult: This is a smart book -- a book that makes you cringe and laugh out loud."--Pauls Toutonghi, author of Red Weather
"DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME is as raw and heartbreaking as it is tender. Jessica Anya Blau has written an honest, haunting portrayal of a beguiling yet maddening family, who together come of age amidst the shifting morals of a country on the cusp of tremendous cultural change."--Robin Antalek, author of The Summer We Fell Apart
"DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME is a gloriously rich portrait of three adult children who discover that the tensions and hurts they still have between them are inextricably tied to their laughter and their love."--Susan Henderson, author of Up From the Blue
"[A] tour de force of a second novel . . . deliciously funny, endearingly naughty, resolutely hopeful, and highly enjoyable. Blau is a masterful storyteller."--Greg Olear, author of Totally Killer and the forthcoming Fathermucker
"From painful humor to poignant scene-setting, [Blau] takes no prisoners in her candid look at an unconventional clan."--Booklist
"Chekhov knew that laughter and tears are only a breath apart. So does Jessica Anya Blau. The family in her marvelous DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME . . . make[s] beautiful, hilarious music through time and all the spaces in the heart."--James Magruder, author of Sugarless
"Blau writes funny, often heartbreaking, and always relatable anecdotes ... [Her] lifelike characters are such a joy to get to know that one feels sorry to leave them behind."--Publishers Weekly
"At the end of the day, the Stein family is dysfunctional, foul-mouthed, appalling, loving and ridiculously endearing, thanks to Blau's hilarious rendition of their group dynamic. Soundtrack? Hotel California. Woody Allen directs."--Baltimore Sun