The friendship of two families, the Sterns and the Dizinoffs, is threatened by tragedy and its fallout in Lauren Grodstein’s novel “A Friend of the Family,” published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. With suspense filled storytelling and sojourns into the past, Grodstein slowly reveals what has brought the friends to their breaking point. “Grodstein is a fluid writer who handles the multiple plot threads with ease, and she has the ability to render scenes with economy and grace,” writes Cleveland.com. In the sarcastic, self-satisfied voice of Pete Dizinoff, the foibles of a righteous father and the tribulations of modern comforts unfold. “Ultimately, though, this is less a novel about one imperfect citizen than a sharp account of the status-driven suburban culture that turned him into a monster of conformity,” notes the New York Times. With material wealth proof of one’s goodness and success, Grodstein brings into focus the shortcomings and dangers of the life her protagonist wants to lead.