Who Is Rich?
This debut novel sees Rich Fischer on his annual trip to a New England beachside town where he teaches students how to make their own autobiographical comics over the course of a week, and he’s just one of the teachers at the arts conference which is teeming with writers, painters and other arty types. Fischer has left behind his wife and two young children and is in a quandary about whether he should start up an affair again - which began at the conference the year previously - with Amy, a woman unhappily married to a Wall Street Master of the Universe brute. He has also hit a writer’s block of sorts, as his previous hit comic book was many years in the past. Fischer narrates the story of his week with all the solipsistic whininess you might expect from someone who sees his life in terms of material for an unwritten comic, but the novel works because its sardonic humour is layered with poignancy, sadness, eroticism and descriptive passages that are as stylish as anything I’ve read this year.