In this “mesmerizing” (The New York Times) and modern take on Edith Wharton’s classic Ethan Frome, the cultural and political battles of Resistance-era America invade a once stable family. Forced to define what they value most, can they come together after allowing the world to come between them?
 
“An astute commentary on the differences between Wharton’s time and ours.”—Los Angeles Times

It’s September 2018. In Washington, D.C., and in cities and towns across America, women have taken to the streets to protest a Supreme Court nominee. And in Starkfield, Massachusetts, a sleepy rural town where nothing much ever happens, Ethan Frome’s otherwise quiet life has turned upside down.

Ethan’s wife, Zo, is so enraged by the national political scene that she’s transformed their home into a local headquarters for the Resistance. His college roommate and former business partner faces “Me Too” allegations, sending Ethan into increasingly desperate financial straits. His unruly, headstrong daughter, Alex, grows more challenging by the day.

Enter Maddy Silver—a breezy, blue-haired millennial making her way through the gig economy. Suddenly Ethan and Zo must question everything: their past, their future, their marriage, and what they value most. And all the while, a world-rocking cultural smash-up inches ever closer to home.

Inspired by a classic Edith Wharton novella about a strained marriage in a small town, The Smash-Up is at once an intimate, moving portrait of a family in distress, a vivid examination of our roiling national rancor, and a powerful exploration of how the things we fail to notice can shatter a family, a community, and a nation.
“An exhilarating ride . . . hilarious . . . there are no heroes here; I got whiplash trying to figure out who I trusted and what I was rooting for, and the sensation was mesmerizing. Benjamin is like an overly chatty but skilled magician . . . a modern and energetic story about a marriage on the skids.”—The New York Times

“Borrow names and plot elements from Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome. Satirize progressive parenting and education à la Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Then light it all up with the feminist fire ignited by the Brett Kavanaugh hearings—and what do you get? A fun, timely novel that’s unexpectedly full of hope.”People

“It is not the transposition of that well-trod narrative and its character types that compels; it is the contrast sharpened in the act. . . . Benjamin doesn’t remake Ethan Frome so much as she contends with it. The Smash-Up is an homage and a critique. . . .  An astute commentary on the differences between Wharton’s time and ours.”Los Angeles Times

“The story’s day-by-day format builds a brisk page-turning momentum. . . . Benjamin has a keen eye and ear for the revealing cultural detail, whether it’s billionaire couples critiquing their children’s school reading lists at parents’ night or someone in their 20s working some questionable side hustles in the gig economy. It’s as if she Marie Kondo’d her scenes to keep only the elements that would bring readers some joy.”—WBUR, The ARTery

“Just when you think you know where this narrative is going, Benjamin flips the script expertly. . . . In her fantastic adult debut, YA and middle grade author Benjamin (The Next Great Paulie Fink) skewers her subjects but still preserves their humanity. New York expats, middle-aged Gen-Xers, disaffected millennials, conniving school moms, exasperating children with improbable names—all get the gimlet eye in this timely, witty novel.”Library Journal (starred review)

“Ambitious . . . With satire and suspense, Benjamin handily encapsulates the incomprehension, sadness, and rage of the Trump era.”—Publishers Weekly

“A hypertopical, semisatirical, Ethan Frome–inspired portrait of a family on the edge . . . cleverly constructed . . . pack(s) an emotional punch.”Kirkus Reviews

“Funny, withering, and devastating . . . Punching neither up nor down but to the side, Benjamin (The Thing About Jellyfish) takes aim at a contemporary attitude that would have flummoxed Edith Wharton. As one of Benjamin’s characters puts it, ‛When did we all fall so in love with our own opinions?’ ”—Shelf Awareness

“A contemporary reflection on power and sex . . . Benjamin’s immediately engaging writing captures the complicated emotions and biting humor of these bruising times and their impact on relationships.”Booklist