Writing about your family can be dicey, but, luckily, Susanna Fogel’s family has a sense of humor.
“I have to say, my family’s always been incredibly open and encouraging of any way I might want to express myself,” says Fogel, a New England native whose divorced parents live in Brookline and Lexington. “At a very young age, they accepted that my outlet would be writing, and comedic writing, and they were pretty accepting of that.”
That’s fortunate because Fogel’s new novel, “Nuclear Family,” is full of characters who, she admits, bear more than a passing resemblance to members of her own family, including a narcissistic dad who writes haikus in his old age and has a very young son.
The book, which began as a “Shouts & Murmurs” piece in The New Yorker, is told through a series of letters and notes — some hilarious, some absurd, some sad — a literary device Fogel settled on because, frankly, it seemed easier and, potentially, funnier.
It’s also what she’s good at. Fogel, who’s 36, has written a few screenplays, including one for a big-budget film she’s currently directing in Budapest, and she’s just most comfortable writing dialogue.
“Honestly, a collection of monologues felt more doable than normal prose style,” she said. “I’m not sure I could get through even one page of normal prose without obsessing over it.”
“Nuclear Family” comes out Tuesday, but Fogel won’t be in Boston to celebrate. She’s busy shooting “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” an action comedy starring Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis as besties who become embroiled in a spy caper when an ex-boyfriend, played by “Outlander” hunk Sam Heughan, shows up trailed by a team of assassins.