Author to Speak in Brooklyn
By Kathryn Cardin, Special to the Brooklyn Eagle
After his American mistress leaves him to marry someone else, British artist Richard Haddon finds himself detached from his life with his daughter and wife, yearning for his extramarital partner to return. Amid his depression, he learns that a painting he had originally created for his wife when she was pregnant sells, causing him to question where his heart should truly lie. In this self-examining, twisted love story, Richard tries to prove that he is worthy of a second chance, while trying to convince himself that he deserves one.
Courtney Maum’s first novel, “I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You,” has claimed several positive reviews since its release this year, including becoming one of Glamour’s “10 Best Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List Right This Second”. Maum describes her book as encompassing the major themes of forgiveness, compassion, love and faith.
Maum will be appearing for a panel discussion and book signing at the Slice Literary Conference in Brooklyn on Sept. 7. The conference will be held at 4:15 p.m. at St. Francis College.
Maum graduated from Brown University with a degree in comparative literature and now shares her time among the Berkshires, Paris and New York City working as a creative brand strategist, corporate namer and humor columnist.
A Publisher’s Weekly starred review wrote that Maum’s book is “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.”
Despite its fictitious storyline, much of the novel parallels Maum’s personal life. Setting the novel in Paris allowed Maum to provide sophisticated details of the city, as that is where she lived when she began writing it. “...I wanted to infuse the novel with my visual affection for the city,” Maum says.
Telling the story from the point-of-view of a man was not only a smart and successful choice for Maum, but also something she said came without hesitation and provided a window into her own identity.
“I think my internal voice skews somewhat masculine to begin with, and I’ve had a lot of jobs in male-dominated industries,” Maum says, referring to her jobs at Maxim and as a party promoter for Corona Extra.
Although she says most of the characters in the novel are not based on real people, they feel real to her.
“There is a little bit of me in almost every character, so there isn’t one that I relate to more than another, although I’m probably a messy amalgamation of Richard, Lisa, Julien, Anne, and Anne’s mother. Yikes.”
While this novel is written from the first-person perspective of a man, Maum is not only convincing, but emotionally aggrandizing in her exploration of the challenges of love and marriage from this addicting point of view.
The plot at times seems predictable with the love lost-love found storyline, but the characters are so identifiable in their cringeable weaknesses and reasonable mistakes, that it is hard not to see oneself in them, and hope that the novel does follow the predictable route.