Join our Newsletter

Subscribe to our mailing list to get weekly updates directly to your inbox.

A Phaidon Global Company
65 Bleecker St.
New York, NY, 10012
646 448 6610

    A son receives an inheritance from his father and tries to dispose of it before it destroys him.

    A son receives an inheritance from his father and tries to dispose of it before it destroys him.

    On sale April 25, 2017. Preorder now; ships April 2017.

    Inherited Disorders: Stories, Parables & Problems tells this elemental story in one hundred and seventeen “darkly hilarious” (Adam Kirsch, Tablet) variations: one hundred and seventeen well-meaning fathers and the one hundred and seventeen sons they unintentionally annihilate through their fatherly affections.

    In shrewd, rueful, surreal vignettes, Adam Ehrlich Sachs lays bare the petty rivalries, thwarted affections, inadvertent burdens, and mutual bafflement that have characterized the filial bond since the days of the Davidic kings. A chimney sweep’s son who rises to become an Oxford philosopher teaches his students philosophy by having them sweep a series of ever more perilous chimneys. A philosopher’s son kills his father and explains his aphorisms to death. An Italian nobleman wills his ill-conceived flying contraption—incapable of actual flight—to his newborn son. A Czech pianist amputates his fingers one by one to thwart his father, who will not stop composing concertos for him. A scholar claims to wear two hats, as his father’s son and his father’s biographer; but as his responsibilities to the old man multiply, so do his hats, and the son threatens to become undone. In West Hollywood, an aspiring screenwriter contends with the judgmental visage of his father, a respected public intellectual whose frozen head, clearly disappointed in him, he keeps in his freezer.

    Together, these twisted yet tender tales, paradoxes, and parables, make up a single inquiry: one son’s attempt to understand his relationship with his father. Keenly inventive and painfully familiar, Inherited Disorders signals the arrival of a brilliant new comic voice—as well as fresh hope, and fresh consternation, for fathers and sons the world over.

    Author Bio

    Adam Ehrlich Sachs studied atmospheric science at Harvard, where he wrote for the Harvard Lampoon. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, n+1 , and Harper’s. He lives with his wife in Pittsburgh.

    Book Praise

    "One of the funniest books of the year."

    Publishers Weekly

    “Ingenious, structurally elegant inheritance puzzles.”

    Max Nelson, The New Republic

    “Like Saturday Night Live sketches written by Kafka. Each is poignant and absurd, and all are told with an exceedingly light touch that floats, skips, and hops into a punch line. Don't miss out on this one.”

    Matthew Zeitlin, Buzzfeed