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Praise for Insignificant Others

A breezily funny, affecting tale by the author of the novel-turned-film The Object of My Affection, about the entanglements of a gay Bostonian facing a midlife crisis.

Richard Rossi is a “psychologist by degree” working in the human resources department of a software company, Connectrix, who could use some counseling of his own. His partner Conrad, with whom he has lived for eight years in a Beacon Hill condo, has been secretly seeing someone else during his out-of-town trips as a consultant (he tells rich people what art work to hang in their homes). Richard’s occasional lover, Ben, an architect with whom he sublets a studio apartment and thinks of as his real “husband,” is spending more time with his wife and kids. At work, Richard is responsible for keeping a young hire from leaving Connectrix and for coaching a hostile supervisor involved in a discrimination suit. He also must soothe a resentful sister in Buffalo and provide support for a married friend with heart disease. Failing in his attempt to escape reality through daily visits to the health club, Richard is forced to confront his ideas about fidelity, obligation and fulfillment. An amiably rendered gay man’s guide to contemporary life, this is a rare novel that details its characters’ imperfections without imparting judgment. McCauley invests them with a romantic outlook that no amount of disappointment can diminish.

A novel with pithy observations, lightness of touch and generosity of spirit.” —Kirkus Reviews

A great Indie Next List nomination for Insignificant Others from Carol Schneck at Schuler’s in Michigan.

“Part Richard Russo, part Michael Cunningham, but with a gently comic voice all his own, Stephen McCauley is one of today's most underrated novelists. In Insignificant Others, Richard Rossi is fighting a midlife crisis with exercise addiction and an affair with a married man, when he discovers that his partner, Conrad, has an "insignificant other" of his own. With his job and his personal life on increasingly shaky ground, Richard must decide what parts of his life deserve to be significant.  Charming and humorous!” —Carol Schneck for Schuler Books and Music, Okemos, MI 48864

“Narrator Richard and his partner, Conrad, are a well-adjusted gay couple living in Boston at “the end of the American Century” in McCauley’s adroit latest (after Alternatives to Sex). They have an understanding that allows for the occasional infidelity, but when Richard realizes that Conrad’s current fling may be luring him away, he begins to worry. It doesn’t help that Richard is becoming infatuated with his own insignificant other, Benjamin, who leads a double life as a supposedly happily married father of two. Richard’s problems, though, go well beyond his love life, and with a dry, caustic wit and the occasionally weighty social observation, he describes how he’s coping with his own exercise addiction, his suspicious sister, a client at work who may or may not be on the brink of going crazy, a friend who can’t bring himself to tell his wife about his health problems, and his deeply confused feelings about Conrad and Benjamin. But it’s an unlikely alliance with Conrad’s business partner and the slow unraveling of his problems that adds an unexpectedly and refreshingly sentimental dimension to this accomplished comedy. —Publishers Weekly

Praise for Alternatives to Sex

Listen to Stephen on NPR's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross (April 10, 2006) or read the transcript.

"[Stephen McCauley is] a writer with a fierce, occasionally lacerating wit; a gimlet eye for human foibles; and a commendable willingness to dally in ambivalence and moral ambiguity with not entirely likable characters... The comic set pieces, clever banter and savagely efficient character descriptions for which he is known are all here. But make no mistake: McCauley is a social satirist in the tradition of Evelyn Waugh and Oscar Wilde—and like them, he's a serious writer indeed." — Darcy Cosper for The Los Angeles Times

"Stephen McCauley's new novel, Alternatives to Sex, is a light, diverting romp through eminently adult concerns: sex, real estate, fidelity and housecleaning....Full of the complications of modern life... Loony and delicious. A delightful story." — San Francisco Chronicle

"This is the Stephen McCauley his devotees wait for: chatty, sly and so funny he breaks your heart, at the same time asking urgent questions about how we live, how we have lived historically, and how we will continue to live. Or die." — The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

" His dialogue is distinguished by comic, low-grade hostilities exchanged between friends, families and neighbors—and these safeguards have never been as funny and relevant, or seemed so necessary, as in recent years, with threats perceived from every direction. McCauley gets it exactly right." — James Klise for Booklist(Starred)

"[B]lunt and funny...McCauley delivers the promise of emotional progress for his flawed, charming protagonist in this clever take on the desire for love, sex and real estate." —Publishers Weekly
"Perfectly crafted... Breezy and light, with a sadness that balances everything." — Bill Goldstein ( on NBC's "Today" show [View the full segment]

"[F]unny and affecting... As always, McCauley...offers a series of lively and trenchant character portraits and shrewd, appealing commentary on contemporary manners and morals." — Francine Prose for People Magazine (4 Stars - Critic's Choice)

"Delightful...nearly perfect." — Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly [Read the full review]

"McCauley's best... there is a nakedness, in more ways than one, that sets this novel apart. With his self-effacing wit and disarming compassion for even the most unlikely characters, McCauley proves once again that he's a master of the modern comedy of manners." — Susan Kelly, USA Today [Read the full review]

Praise for True Enough

"With his wry new novel, McCauley ventures further down the path of cross-gender empathy, creating a female protagonist who doesn't merely claim our hearts but rips them out and slings them over her shoulder. True Enough is, in many ways, his best book yet." — The New York Times Book Review

"Smart and funny with understated finesse." — Esquire

Praise for The Man of the House

"A wry, bittersweet look at the importance and impossibility of father-son relationships. The writing is seamless, the story never lags, and it is filled with eccentric characters and observations you'll find yourself reading aloud." — USA Today

Praise for The Easy Way Out

"This beautifully written, heartbreaking book is an eloquent depiction of the compromises lovers and families make to keep relationships alive. Clever, revealing, sharply drawn." — Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Object of My Affection

"A very funny, exceptionally vivid first novel...Surely on of the best books about what it is like to be young in these crazy time." — The New York Times Book Review

For details about the 1998 film adaptation of The Object of My Affection, starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston, click here.