After Ann Patchett mentioned she was reading a book by Lore Segal, I remembered I had Shakespeare's Kitchen on my list. Another novel in the form of short stories, like Olive Kitteridge, this plot revolves around academics at a Connecticut think tank and their relationships with one another. I thought it had a wry sensibility and the dialogue realistically represented how people behave with one another. I found myself chuckling often, but I'm not sure if it was intentionally funny or just my mood. Like this passage, when the directors meet to discuss firing one of their inept staff members:
Zack said, "Amazing! We say, 'Let's give this incompetent time to prove himself.' The incompetent proves himself to be incompetent and we worry about wasting his time! While Jimmy's chums congratulate themselves on the milk of their human kindness, they might ask themselves if it mightn't be humane to relieve the young man of the awful experience of not being capable..." (p.130)
This is a smart book - the dark humor doesn't undermine the more serious examination of how we relate to one another and our desire to belong in an adult world. This won't be everyone's cup of tea, but for me it hit the spot.