Despite the success of his first solo show in Paris and the support of his brilliant French wife and young daughter, 34-year-old British artist Richard Haddon is too busy mourning the loss of his American mistress to appreciate his fortune. But after Richard discovers that a painting he originally made for his wife, Anne, has sold, it shocks him back to reality and he resolves to reinvest wholeheartedly in his family life - just in time for his wife to learn the extent of his affair. Rudderless and remorseful, Richard embarks on a series of misguided attempts to win Anne back while focusing his creative energy on a provocative art piece to prove that he's still the man she once loved.
©2014 Courtney Maum (P)2014 Dreamscape Media, LLC
Starred review. "An honest, staggeringly realized journey... Equally funny and touching, the novel strikes deep, presenting a sincere exploration of love and monogamy. These characters are complex, and their story reflects their confusion and desire... An impressive, smart novel." (Publishers Weekly)
"A gem of a novel about the tangles of love, regret, and hope that might or might not hold a marriage together. Courtney Maum's deft, beguiling debut charms with its wit and glows with compassion." (Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements)
"Courtney Maum writes with such honesty and verve about how we struggle to deserve the people we love. Intensely personal and engagingly complex, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You is a moving, complicated, big-hearted novel." (Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang)
"Antic, sexy, satirically deft, and of course funny, this novel is also, on both the personal and political levels, smart about the bottomlessness of our capacities for self-sabotage, and moving about the fierceness of our yearning to make good." (Jim Shepard, author of You Think That's Bad; and Like You'd Understand, Anyway )
"Maum's witty and insightful novel captures a lifetime of falling in and out of love. It's an investigation of marriage which often combines its utter clear-sightedness and its tremendous warmth in the very same sentence. So agile and fully realized." (Ned Beauman, author of The Teleportation Accident)
Excuse the clichés, but it is what it is, and this is an easy, quick, mildly entertaining read, that is (IMO) harmlessly overrated. The starred reviews, and "best-of" tag lines had me going into this read anxiously waiting for the 5* fabulousness and humorous story.
Expect instead, a slow, but steady and engaging launch. Richard Haddon is a semi-successful British artist, living in Paris with his beautiful Parisian wife and daughter, in the home of their dreams. He narrates (in a voice perfectly dripping with ennui), complaining about life in general, the disillusionment of his marriage, his dissatisfaction with his career, and a sex life that had become dull. All justification for a 7 month affair with an American girl. With that foundation, Richard plummets into the depths of despair/mid-life crisis when his young lover announces she is leaving him. In an attempt to gain our sympathy for his painful state of affairs, he only becomes more detestable with every word. Maum creates layer upon layer of delicious debauchery and self-pity, with a keen eye on the realistic and uncensored thoughts of a character slowly coming to grips with his actions.
Maum skewers human behaviors with a charming British bluntness that adds an enjoyable jolt of reality (but not comedy). She turns the characters inside out and has them work their way right again. The candidly narrated journey of self discovery is what gives heart to this book...albeit a syrup-y, sentimental heart.
The clichés, predictability, pointless fillers, pretentious rote characters, by any formula, keep this from being a 5* book; the witty and smart writing, the personal evolution of the characters, and some smooth narration by Deveraux, make this an enjoyable middle grounder -- at least, in my book. Just in case: **Expect some hot sexy scenes as the narrator recalls episodes of his affair, and some explicit language peppered with F-bombs, but nothing gratuitous.
The first half was a page turner. I was sufficiently entertained.
I would develop the women characters. I would develop the lover Lisa in particular and not throw her away so easily by the stories narrarator. I would take the insights from the very end and disperse them in the second half. The installation "art" was disturbing.
Sounds Like Colin Firth, or is it Hugh Grant?
It made me think, but did not make me have new thoughts.
Dialogue and the main character's thoughts tell the story. This was a useful format to stay in one man's head, albeit an annoying head.
Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too.
It is up near the top. A most enjoyable read and my short headline does not say it all as the book is clearly more than a romp through the art world of Paris.
One other does not come readily to mind. Perhaps, along the lines of India Knight and Ian Moore.
The reader was wonderful and never did that over-acting, shouting thing that is so annoying in some audible books.
I liked the scene where the artists videotaped his parents in the kitchen of the seaside house in England.
There are many levels to this novel and all work well together. I would read more by this author.
My book club read this book, recently. Of the eight women who read it zero liked it. Unfortunately for us, I guess, we all prefer a book with some character for whom we have affinity. The main character in this book was someone we all thought should be slapped. The writing was well done but we just couldn't appreciate This self absorbed young man.
Sam Deveraux is a good reader to listen to. His accent, pacing, inflection were some of the best parts of listening to this book
Liked it very much
Too much to go into....start over
It started out with interest, but soon became predictable with the artist marrying the lovely talented, bright, rich girl and all their struggles from his viewpoint
The main character, Richard is an immature, self-centered pill the entire book. I don't mind unpleasant characters when they advance the story in an interesting way. He didn't. None of the other characters were developed enough to be interesting either.
He did a nice job with the material
Yes. It inspired me to find out where I read the recommendation for this book so I can avoid the source next time.
Nice descriptions of Paris and France and the art world.
Utterly heartbreaking and breathtaking - the audio version is a great way to experience this story. The narration made turned what may have been a hard read into something that I could get through. Its a hard story about infidelity, regrets and finally redemption. I usually hate the offender in these types of stories and while his actions pissed me off, hearing things from his (Richard Haddens) POV it really made me want things to work out for him. I think the dialogue between Richard and Ann was brilliantly written and very realistically done. Loved Camille, Richards parents, Ann's parents and Richards Art world. The ending is perfection!
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