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Who is Rich? by Matthew Klam

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PUBLISHED BY FOURTH ESTATE
REVIEW BY KRIS WILLIAMS

Rich is 42. He is married to Robyn, alternating between being angry at or bored with her. He has two children under five whom he adores. Rich feels drained, unhappy, has money problems and is ‘stuck’ in a career as a struggling illustrator where he was once a promising cartoonist.

Every year, in a seaside town miles away from home, Rich teaches a week-long cartooning class at an annual summer arts conference. The previous year he met Amy, who is married to a very rich financier and mother of three children. They bonded over how their life had not turned out as they had expected and shared a moment of passion – “a ‘thang’ … that evolved into a text flurry and several unsatisfactory meetings.”  Rich is looking forward to seeing her again.

What follows is a sometimes humorous story of adultery, envy, bitterness and midlife crisis:  “This is an interesting meditation on monogamy, marriage, children, middle-age, financial success, and whether abandoning your dreams for something more stable makes you a sell-out or a failure. It's also an exploration of what kind of happiness we should expect from life—should you take what you're given or should you hope for more?”

I am not the right audience for this book. I tried to like it but found Klam’s style of writing hard to wade through. His character Rich was verbose in describing his surroundings and the people in it. I found myself skipping paragraphs of his ramblings. Finishing the book was an effort.

Categorising books to be read by either male or female is not something I usually do, but in this instance, I feel that Who is Rich? might appeal more to the male reader.

 

Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.