That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo
Richard Russo is funny. Now you may not know this if you are only familiar with his Pulitzer Prize -winning novel Empire Falls, but when he is writing about the hot house world of academia (as he also does in Straight Man), Russo is LOL funny.
Griffin has everything he dreamed of, an enviable job at a New England college, a charming old house, and a lovely wife and daughter. His parents are close at hand as well. His father’s ashes are uncomfortably ensconced in the trunk of his car, and his acerbic mother keeps in touch regularly and intrusively via cell phone. While en route to a wedding in Maine, Griffin examines his family relationships with disastrous and comic consequences. In the course of a year, his mother joins dad in the trunk, his wife leaves him, & he resumes the screenwriting career he abandoned 30 years earlier.
This is a tale of a mid life crisis, but Russo elevates the cliche with poignant observations of family ties.