In her debut novel "Fleishman Is in Trouble," Taffy Brodesser-Akner brought us along for a Manhattan couple's midlife reckoning. In "Long Island Compromise," she takes us to Hollywood, World War II Poland, Greenwich Village and the wealthier confines of Long Island.

She opens with a kidnapping and a warning: "Do you want to hear a story with a terrible ending?" Sounds like a downer and yet it absolutely is not.

For those familiar with her journalism, Brodesser-Akner accomplishes in this novel what she does in her indelible celebrity profiles. She creates fictional lives with a verisimilitude that requires reminders that no, these are not real people. This is no surprise to her fans. For GQ magazine, she spun a prescient profile of former CNN anchor Don Lemon out of his incorrect pronunciation of "sorbet."

This novel traces the Fletcher family from near starvation in Poland to the economics of bar mitzvahs and the ubiquity of a specific nose job in the well-heeled Long Island family's milieu.

Brodesser-Akner manages, as she did with "Fleishman," a smooth, swift narrative loaded with wit and wordplay, beginning with the title, which is too explicit to describe here.

The title is also, of course, a tip-off because a compromise is about settling, choosing, the privilege of options and, ultimately, the consequences. It's all a wild and worthy ride.

To wit: One of the main characters, Beamer Fletcher, an out-of-worthy-ideas screenwriter who lives in Los Angeles and abuses drugs, consumes a multi-substance concoction called the Mulholland Backflip which is said to "light up the pleasure centers of your brain so that you are a veritable slot machine of flashing lightbulbs and energetic noises, which is almost enough to drown out the signs of your burgeoning irrelevance and also the cold war that your wife has been waging upon you for reasons you cannot determine, since you know that the potential number of reasons for this is so vast that you cannot ask a direct question about it without incriminating yourself."

The author tells us "Long Island" isn't true although one sleight of hand is the appearance of the actor Mandy Patinkin. One imagines this will, fingers crossed, become a limited TV series like "Fleishman" and that Patinkin will play himself to fabulous effect.

As she was in "Fleishman," Brodesser-Akner is ridiculously clever, but never overly so and never merely for the sake of showing off her prodigious way with words.

A big reason I love her writing — in any medium — is that every sentence serves the whole. Every word is carefully chosen and I trust that the journey she takes us on will end at a destination worth visiting.

She does like a twist, which keeps us alert, as fans of "Fleishman" know. This isn't a breezy beach read and, like "Fleishman," you want to restart it as soon as you're done, to find what you missed.

After riding the roller coaster with the family, she gives us a definitive ending. Is it "terrible?" I didn't think so, but then again — and maybe I shouldn't admit this — aren't the struggles of the ultra-rich more than a little entertaining to us average folks? Mostly, however, I was delighted to again get to enjoy this author's sublime storytelling skills.

Long Island Compromise

By: Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

Publisher: Random House, 444 pages, $30.

Event: Reading, 7 p.m. July 16, Shir Tikvah Synagogue in Minneapolis, 1360 West Minnehaha Parkway, Mpls. $35 (price includes copy of the book).