Two brothers. One emergency room. Too much St Valentin´s decoration. One of the brothers has a broken jaw and the other a broken fist.
Even if it is love in the air there is resentment in their hearts. Brotherly love has never hurt so good.
Dysfunctional families is not an uncommon motive in literature. Even so, the question is if you can find a funnier description. Or sadder. Or funnier. Or... I just don't know what. But every bad thing that can happen will happen. And maybe it is the only way things can develop when two squabbling siblings are setting out on a journey together with their alcoholic mother to spread the ashes after their deceased father.
Noah Hawley wrote the script to the the TV serie Fargo and it it is easy to recognize the same themes in Fargo and The Punch. Noah Hawleys experience as a script writer is also recognizable in his attention for details. Against all the rules he is not afraid to stop the flow in the story to make the reader shift attention to a detail such as two plastic roses in a bedpan or something else that gives the story a hyper realistic feeling. It´s only in real life such trivial things exist.
Noah Hawley has also a well developed sense of empathy. The portraits of the family members never turns out to be one dimensional caricatures. And even if I am grateful that I never have to deal with any of them in real life, I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to meet them like this, in a book.