The co-op bookstore for avid readers

The Friday Afternoon Club: A Family Memoir by Griffin Dunne

Featured in the Tertulia First Dibs Editors Salon
Guest Contributor: John Burnham Schwartz (Author and Editor-at-Large, Penguin Press) •
Apr 18th, 2024

With Joan Didion as an aunt, Carrie Fisher as a best friend, and acting and production roles in Martin Scorsese's After Hours, few people have had as much access to the intimate lives of America's cultural aristocracy as Griffin Dunne. On the page, all the glitz and glamour, combined with the devastating killing of his younger sister and the high-profile trial which followed, make for a complicated, eclectic, and fascinating read about a singular life.

We've selected The Friday Afternoon Club as one of five notable books coming out next season that will be featured in our First Dibs Editors Salon, taking place virtually on May 1 at 7pm ET. Learn more and RSVP.

We are honored to have the book's acquiring editor, John Burnham Schwartz (Author and Editor-at-Large at Penguin Press), join us at the salon. He shared this personal note about the book as a special preview just for Tertulia readers.

The Friday Afternoon Club: A Family Memoir by Griffin Dunne (June 11)

Though Griffin and I both grew up somewhat bi-coastally, about a decade apart, with divorced parents in Manhattan and Los Angeles and many writers and film and theater people in our familial orbits, we had never met personally. I’d seen his talent on the screen of course, and heard from friends about his charm, his wicked sense of humor, and what a fabulous raconteur he was at dinner parties. But it was only when I first began reading the pages that would become The Friday Afternoon Club that I began to appreciate just how serious the author was about trying to make the difficult, often precarious leap from anecdote to story.

Beneath the witty, self-deprecating exterior, here was someone of great feeling who understood the tragedy and comedy of both his privilege and his losses and shouldered genuine responsibility for the telling. All through the many months of writing and re-writing, Griffin would repeat the same thing to me, like a mantra: “It’s a family memoir.” And so it is.

– John Burnham Schwartz, Author and Editor-at-Large, Penguin Press

What to read next:
What to read next: