I really enjoyed this book, though it is at times hard to read; not because it’s violent or hateful, but because it’s painful in terms of the emotional tug and fallout from an affair. It strikes me as odd that it’s being marketed as witty and funny. I didn’t get that.
Two marks on the book, in my opinion (three if you count the non-descriptive title): first, the beginning is too long. Books often have that 7th-inning slump, but this one has 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-innings lag. It wasn’t enough to make me put the book down (which I do readily when something isn’t keeping my interest). Still, it was a lot to read before I found the story really interesting.
And second, there are times when the narrator’s voice doesn’t seem authentic. I really think it’s because it’s a woman writer writing in a man’s voice. I can’t give specific instances, other than to say that the insight seemed slightly skewed to me.
That said, Maum
creates real characters that you have empathy for (even if you wouldn’t be friends with them). The art world portrayal seems honest and the European settings seem drawn completely. It’s a book I’d recommend if you’re looking for a grown-up book about love and marriage.
As a side note: I enjoyed Kevin Wilson’s The Family Fang
, too (he blurbed this title). There are some parallels between it and this book. Wilson’s book is
funny. And keeping with the art theme, you might like Still Life with Bread Crumbs
by Anna Quindlen.