Niagara Falls All Over Again by Elizabeth McCracken
This book is a bittersweet buddy comedy. The narrator is Mike Sharp, the straight man in a fictional 2-man comedy team that made it big on vaudeville and radio and made a few great movies in the 30’s and 40’s. The novel is about Mike’s relationship with his comedy partner, Rocky Carter, their rise to fame, and the reasons they finally stopped speaking to each other. Rocky is a kind of self-destructive character, a comedian who has to make jokes out of his pain. And most of those jokes are genuinely funny. I love reading about complex relationships like this one. Rocky and Mike’s careers are tied up together, they care about each other and enjoy each other, but they also resent each other for their very dependence and for the uneven way success deals with them. McCracken’s sentences and jokes and descriptions really make you feel like you’re behind the scenes in a vaudeville show. She did an awesome job recreating that entire world with language.