22 July 2021, The Tablet

Witty but wistful


Early Morning Riser
(fourth ESTATE, 336 PP, £14.99)
Tablet bookshop price £13.49 • tel 020 7799 4064

Nora Ephron’s bitter and determinedly unsweet Heartburn, still for many the funniest American novel written in the last 40 years, now faces serious competition. Katherine Heiny’s debut novel, Standard Deviation, published in 2017, was outwardly a meditation on middle-class ­marriage, awkward children, difficult older parents and coming to terms with a close-knit, ever-competitive peer group. But it also included comic one-liners on almost every page of a quality that most of us only manage once a year, if that.

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