Every summer, a once-sort-of famous cartoonist named Rich Fischer leaves his wife and two kids behind to teach a class at a week-long arts conference in a charming New England beachside town. It’s a place where drum circles happen on the beach at midnight, clothing optional. Rich finds himself worrying about his family’s nights without him, his back taxes, his stuttering career and his own very real desire for love and human contact. One of the attendees this year is a forty-one-year-old painting student named Amy O’Donnell. Amy is a mother of three, unhappily married to a brutish Wall Street titan who commutes to work via helicopter. Rich and Amy met at the conference a year ago, shared a moment of passion, then spent the winter exchanging inappropriate texts and emails and counting the days until they could see each other again.
Now they’re back.
Who Is Rich? is a warped and exhilarating tale of love and lust, a study in midlife alienation, erotic pleasure, envy, and bitterness in the new gilded age that goes far beyond humour and satire to address deeper questions: of family, monogamy, the intoxicating beauty of children and the challenging interdependence of two soulful, sensitive creatures in a confusing domestic alliance.
Reviews of Who is Rich?
‘Who is Rich? Is a tantalizing novel – acute and smart and stark, but mostly it’s unrelentingly funny about a large number of very inappropriate things. It’s one of those rare books: you open it, then you’re up all night. I was’ Richard Ford
‘Matthew Klam writes beautifully about the strange, extraordinary adventure of being human. Who is Rich? is tragic and comic in equal measure, written with a poignancy that makes you laugh and simultaneously wince in recognition. A profoundly memorable novel’ Elizabeth Day
‘I loved every page of this book. It got into my bloodstream – and kind of destroyed me’ Curtis Sittenfeld
‘What a thrill to experience the fusion of Matthew Klam’s fierce, kinetic prose’ Jennifer Egan
‘I seriously, deeply love this book’ Michael Cunningham
‘A stunner . . . funny, dark, big, and bold . . . Who Is Rich? Is not to be missed’ Meg Wolitzer
‘Political in a way that is not always noted because it is also so funny’ Lorrie Moore
‘Immediately engaging … a stylish romp through the inbuilt disappointment of middle age’ Lionel Shriver, Observer
‘Buy it and read it in one sitting’ Sunday Times Style
‘It’s a satire of adult education. It’s a portrait of the triumphs and disasters of modern fatherhood, and the pram in the hall. It’s a How We Live Now novel, one of the best to come along in a while’ Esquire
‘You know those big American novels that you sometimes lose a couple of days to? This is one of those books, conjuring up the humour and narrative of a John Irving or AM Homes… book out a weekend to read it’ Stylist
‘Comic, wondrous, and sad’ New Yorker
‘In 2000, Matthew Klam was the literary equivalent of Rookie of the Year, publishing Sam the Cat, a collection of stories that prompted the New Yorker to call him one of the top twenty writers under forty. Now, finally, we have the novel Klam’s fans hoped he had in him’ Men’s Journal