Rebekah Frumkin

The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin


A dazzling epic that follows two very different families in Cleveland across generations, beginning with their patriarchs, who become irrevocably intertwined one fateful night

A blistering dark comedy, Rebekah Frumkin's The Comedown is a romp across America, from the Kent State shootings to protest marches in Chicago to the Florida Everglades, that explores delineating lines of race, class, religion, and time.

Scrappy, street smart drug dealer Reggie Marshall has never liked the simpering addict Leland Bloom-Mittwoch, which doesn’t stop Leland from looking up to Reggie with puppy-esque devotion. But when a drug deal goes dramatically, tragically wrong and a suitcase (which may or may not contain a quarter of a million dollars) disappears, the two men and their families become hopelessly entangled. It’s a mistake that sets in motion a series of events that are odd, captivating, suspenseful, and ultimately inevitable.

Both incendiary and earnest, The Comedown steadfastly catalogs the tangled messes the characters make of their lives, never losing sight of the beauty and power of each family member’s capacity for love, be it for money, drugs, or each other.


“Devastatingly smart...That this is Frumkin's debut makes the ambition of this story all the more remarkable.”
NYLON, 50 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018

“Ambitious, sensitive, and busy...this is a powerful debut. Frumkin has talent to burn.”
Kirkus (starred review)

The Comedown is everything you could want in a novel—an intergenerational family saga, a mystery that spans modern American history, a scalpel cut through our many national foibles and shames. Funny, heartbreaking, tremendous; Frumkin's intelligence and empathy radiates off every page.”
—Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties

“Rebekah Frumkin is a writer of deeply impressive imagination and brilliant execution. I’ve read few writers who take such an ambitious and convincing bite of the world.”
—Ethan Canin, Guggenheim fellow and author of A Doubter's Almanac, America America and more

“Eighties-era Cleveland might be the stage, the Mittwoches and Marshalls the players, but The Comedown is really the story of all of us. As inclusive and capacious as it is intimate, this look at a turbulent time in American political and family life will invite comparisons to Jonathan Franzen and the Coen Brothers, but Rebekah Frumkin's unsparingly honest and endlessly compassionate voice is unique, as is her ability to combine humor and pathos in a way that strikes the heart.”
—Deborah E. Kennedy, author of Tornado Weather