Press

Media and praise for My Ex-Life

Interviews
Reviews

"What makes My Ex-Life so striking is McCauley's droll precision with language. Like the best of comic fiction writers—I'm thinking, in particular, of the immortal Laurie Colwin—McCauley draws his readers into reflecting on some of the big questions—sexuality, mortality, failure—with the lure of laughter." Maureen Corrigan, "Fresh Air" (NPR)

"McCauley fits neatly alongside Tom Perrotta and Maria Semple in the category of 'Novelists You'd Most Like to Drive Across the Country With'—fine company, indeed." New York Times Book Review

"Summer reads don't get much sweeter than this novel...McCauley charmingly juggles an assortment of funny, believable characters...as each, in their different ways, find their way home." Seattle Times

"An irresistible doozy of a plot. With My Ex-Life, a heartwarming comedy of manners about second chances and starting afresh, he has pretty much outdone himself...McCauley fires off witticisms like a tennis ace practicing serves... Warm but snappy, light but smart—and just plain enjoyable." Heller Mcalpin, NPR.org

"Wildly appealing." People

"A charming slice of life about former spouses (one gay, one straight) on the other side of 50 who have been kicked around by life but find purpose when they reconnect in a seaside Massachusetts town. Laughs included." Entertainment Weekly "Must List"

"It's hard to convey the sheer joy of reading McCauley's effervescent, penetrating prose that can be simultaneously hilarious and heart-breaking." Bay Area Reporter

"Nothing is more satisfying, however, than what can be aptly described as a plain, old-fashioned 'good read,' especially one as well-written as My Ex-Life from skillful storyteller and bestselling author Stephen McCauley." Lambda Literary Review

"McCauley has a remarkable talent for telling stories laced with insight into human behavior." Shelf Awareness

"As always, McCauley's effervescent prose is full of wit and wisdom on every topic—college application essays, Airbnb operation, weed addiction, live porn websites, and, most of all, people. 'When everything looks perfectly right about a person, there's usually something significantly wrong.' 'All couples start off as Romeo and Juliet and end up as Laurel and Hardy.' A gin and tonic for the soul." Kirkus Reviews

"McCauley delights with intimately, often hilariously observed characters and a winking wit that lets plenty of honest tenderness shine through. Readers will love spending time in these pages." Booklist, starred review

"Sweet-but-unsentimental paean to altruism and friendship that gets to the heart of people, be they nice or nasty...A tender, strikingly 'true' story that is warm, clear, and nuanced." Library Journal

"My Ex-Life is a warm, witty, and surprisingly revealing look at life's second chances. Book clubs will be applauding Stephen McCauley's newest novel. This gem is a 'must read' for 2018." Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books and Valley Bookseller (for IndieNext)

"You can recognize great writers in their minor characters... Stephen McCauley belongs to an elite club of authors who create such memorable supporting roles, and in his latest, My Ex-Life, he serves up a narcissistic, San Francisco real estate agent, a bitter, tourist-town shopkeeper, and an exotic next-door philanderer, to name just three. Do great minor characters threaten to steamroll main characters off the stage at any given moment? Of course they do, and that's how they earn their unforgettable characteristics." James Conrad for Chronogram

"This story of loves both great and small is most certainly not saccharine sweet. My Ex-Life reminds us that there is a reason for everything, and that sometimes it's wise to go back to the familiar (albeit old) parts of ourselves to remind us just how far we've come. Stephen McCauley writes like your best friend—the one who always says what you're thinking but you'd never have the guts to utter out loud. His perception of even the mundane tasks of life reveals a witty tone dripping with self deprecation and amusement. This book is most certainly one you should put at the top of your to-be-read pile!" Jordan Arias, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL (for IndieNext)

"The humor is fresh, effortless, and perceptive. It left me cackling late into the night, stopping every now and then to read aloud passages of pure comic brilliance. McCauley has always had a keen eye for modern relationship dynamics, and his wits are sharper than ever here. There is so much to love about My Ex-Life, readers will be clamoring for McCauley's backlist." Dave Wheeler, Associate Editor, Shelf Awareness

"A rich, yet delicate ragout of wonderfully vivid characters, hilarious dialogue, and spot-on cultural criticism. It satisfies on every level." Richard Russo, author of Everybody's Fool

"A wise, ruefully funny, and ultimately touching exploration of mid-life melancholy and unexpected second chances. Stephen McCauley is a wonderful writer, and this may be his best book yet." Tom Perrotta, author of Mrs. Fletcher

"This wonderful novel has its finger on the pulse of the present, but the questions it asks—about family and the ineluctable past and the strange, sustaining grace of friendship—are as timeless as the elegance and craft of its prose. Stephen McCauley is a master, one of our wisest and funniest observers of American life." Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

"Steve McCauley's best novel so far—and that's saying a lot." Anita Diamant, author of The Boston Girl and The Red Tent

"From the first page of My Ex-Life, I was sending Stephen McCauley mental valentines and figurative fan notes, thanking him for this delicious, smart, funny novel... Oh, if all books could be like this one!" Elinor Lipman, author of On Turpentine Lane

"Before you read My Ex-Life, make sure the person you sleep with is willing to be woken constantly by your laughter." Katherine Heiny, author of Standard Deviation

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... 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

"McCauley's adroit latest... [an] accomplished comedy." Publishers Weekly

"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)

"Reading Insignificant Others is like being a guest at the best kind of dinner party—every morsel is delicious, every guest is fascinating. Even as I devoured this book I was deeply sorry to reach the end." Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture and The House on Fortune Street

"An incisive, rueful, humane, very smart, and very funny book." Joan Wickersham, author of The Suicide Index

"A master of the comic novel, Stephen McCauley makes someone else's difficult, complicated relationship so witty, sexy and delightfully engrossing that you'll forget about your own difficult, complicated relationship." Bob Smith, author of Selfish and Perverse and Openly Bob

"It's 'The Office' meets Jane Austen, with a twist. I adored this novel." Mameve Medwed, author of Mail and How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life

Media and praise for Alternatives to Sex

Interviews

Listen to Stephen talk about Alternatives to Sex with Terry Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air" (April 2006)

Reviews

"Hilarious... Witty and poignant look at a post 9/11 world." Publishing News

"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 likeable characters—talents put to excellent use in his latest novel... How Americans were affected by Sept. 11 provides this novel's leitmotif; fear, and how we sublimate or—much more rarely—reckon with it, is the theme. McCauley uses his twin narratives, and a bevy of subplots and appealing tertiary characters, to explore this material with impressive dexterity and a refreshing lack of portent. As always, McCauley has a light touch. 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." Los Angeles Times

"Amiable, funny novel... entertains us with a series of bonnes bouches on dating, marriage and real estate." The Independent

"An insightful and very funny read." The Big Issue

"The New York Times called McCauley 'The secret Love Child of Edith Wharton and Woody Allen.' Who are we to disagree?" Gay Times

"McCauley's engaging fifth novel recalls the odd, impulsive behaviors that overtook Americans in the year following September 11, 2001. 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 (NYTimes.com) on NBC's "Today"

"[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 (4 Stars - Critic's Choice)

"Delightful...nearly perfect." Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly

"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

"Alternatives to Sex is a captivating contemporary tale about real estate lust, real lust, friendship, longing, loneliness—and the perils of compulsive house-cleaning. It's laugh-out-loud funny and wonderfully wise and smart. Stephen McCauley is playing at the top of his game." Elizabeth Benedict, author of The Practice of Deceit and The Joy of Writing Sex

"Alternatives to Sex is my favorite of Stephen McCauley's wonderful novels. This is genius at work, but genius of the best, most readable kind: witty, lovable, and so amazingly smart about love in many forms—about friendship, about marriage, about real estate." Elinor Lipman, author of The Inn at Lake Devine and The Pursuit of Alice Thrift

"Hilarious, poignant and true. Wickedly insightful about the new millennium's two greatest obsessions: Sex and Real Estate." Darren Star, creator of "Sex and the City"

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 times." The New York Times Book Review