Richard is in pain. What type of pain, he isn’t sure and the doctors can find nothing wrong. But still he hurts. Lying in the hospital bed, he realises that he doesn’t know who to call. His ex-wife, his estranged son, the brother he hasn’t seen in years, his parents who have decamped to Florida and who he doesn’t speak to either? He is, it turns out, a man very much alone and the pain isn’t so much to do with his heart but with his head.
A self-made man with a lot of money, Richard lives like a recluse. His life is one of routine, exercise and health food. He has trainers, nutritionists and a cleaner he doesn’t speak to but no friends. He watches stocks and shares and makes money but doesn’t leave his house for months. Now, sitting in hospital, he realises he doesn’t want to go home and he doesn’t want to be alone.
Finally, after years of inertia, Richard starts to live. It’s a strange living, one that starts in a donut shop and where he meets and makes friends with misfits, movies stars and novelists. His son comes to visit and they begin to rebuild their relationship. Along the way, he rescues a horse, a dog, and a kidnapped woman. It’s all a bit surreal and very funny. By the end I was really rooting for Richard who hadn’t quite figured it all out but you get the feeling he is doing more than existing.
You might be able to tell – I enjoyed this book. I like A. M. Homes, the way she writes. Her novels make me laugh and I love her take on the world, which is slightly off centre. I came to her books late and am slowly working my way through them. So far, this is my favourite and I can’t wait to read more.