An irresistible comedy of manners about three generations of a Chicago restaurant family and the deep-fried, beer-battered, cream cheese-frosted love that feeds them all—from the best-selling author of Girls in White Dresses
“Laugh-out-loud funny, and deeply resonant to our times. I was so happy to be in the Sullivan family’s Chicago bar, caught in the swirl of three generations of grudges, love affairs and fraught personal decisions.”
—Ann Napolitano, best-selling author of Dear Edward
Here are the three things the Sullivan family knows to be true: the Chicago Cubs will always be the underdogs; historical progress is inevitable; and their grandfather, Bud, founder of JP Sullivan’s, will always make the best burgers in Oak Park. But when, over the course of three strange months, the Cubs win the World Series, Trump is elected president, and Bud drops dead, suddenly everyone in the family finds themselves doubting all they hold dear.
Take Gretchen for example, lead singer for a ’90s cover band who has been flirting with fame for a decade but is beginning to wonder if she’s too old to be chasing a childish dream. Or Jane, Gretchen’s older sister, who is starting to suspect that her fitness-obsessed husband who hides the screen of his phone isn’t always “working late.” And then there’s Teddy, their steadfast, unfailingly good cousin, nursing heartbreak and confusion because the guy who dumped him keeps showing up for lunch at JP Sullivan’s where Teddy is the manager. How can any of them be expected to make the right decisions when the world feels sideways—and the bartender at JP Sullivan’s makes such strong cocktails?
Outrageously funny and wickedly astute, Marrying the Ketchups is a delicious confection by one of our most beloved authors.
The death of a patriarch throws an Irish Chicago family into a tailspin in Close's humdrum dramedy (after The Hopefuls). When the Sullivan clan suddenly loses patriarch Bud, family members begin systematically unraveling. The outcome of the 2016 presidential election makes things worse, and the Cubs' World Series victory isn't quite enough consolation. The story primarily revolves around two sisters, Bud's grandchildren. There's Gretchen, the singer for a New York City cover band, and her older, more domesticated sister, Jane, who increasingly suspects her husband of cheating. More engaging is the plight of the sisters' good-natured cousin Teddy, the general manager of the burger joint Bud owned. Teddy yearns for his ex-boyfriend, who keeps showing up to have dinner at the restaurant, and the kind of romance that seems just out of reach. There's also newly widowed Rose, in an assisted living facility, who must now face life without Bud. In the place of plot are the characters' tribulations, played out in placid, heavily detailed chapters, as when Gretchen abandons hope of rock stardom and comes home, Teddy assesses his love life, and Jane reevaluates her marriage. It's rough going, but Close manages to evoke the durable power of family.