When David, a freelance college adviser, is about to be evicted from his surprisingly affordable San Francisco coach house by his ex and his ex's new husband, and hears from his first wife Julie, about to divorce from hubby #2, David expects it’s not for advice on how to get her teenage daughter, Mandy, into a good school. Well, maybe partly so, but Julie is also hanging by a thread, keeping her home afloat with Airbnb bookings, distracted from watching out for Mandy, who’s looking to trade her job at the Beachy Keen shop for a more lucrative career. And things go downhill from there, but don’t worry, it will get better. It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since his last, Insignificant Others, but his character-driven style that mixes hilarity with a bit of melancholy is as delightful as ever. If you want to know where to place his work, it’s a bit sweeter than Tom Perrotta (who loves the new book) and perhaps a bit more spiked than Elinor Lipman (who likewise raves). I’ve never missed reading one of his books since The Object of My Affection, and it feels like maybe, just maybe, the time is right for everyone to discover how wonderful McCauley is.— Daniel Goldin
May 2018 Indie Next List
“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
"I didn't know how much I needed a laugh until I began reading Stephen McCauley's new novel, My Ex-Life. This is the kind of witty, sparkling, sharp novel for which the verb 'chortle' was invented." --Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
"McCauley fits neatly alongside Tom Perrotta and Maria Semple in the category of 'Novelists You'd Most Like to Drive Across the Country With.'" --The New York Times Book Review
David Hedges's life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents') choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7.
The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It's been decades since they've spoken, and he's relieved to hear she's recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him.
Julie definitely doesn't have a problem with marijuana (she's given it up completely, so it doesn't matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she's running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She'd just like David's help organizing college plans for her 17-year-old daughter.
That would be Mandy. To quote Barry Manilow, Oh Mandy. While she knows she's smarter than most of the kids in her school, she can't figure out why she's making so many incredibly dumb and increasingly dangerous choices?
When David flies east, they find themselves living under the same roof (one David needs to repair). David and Julie pick up exactly where they left off thirty years ago--they're still best friends who can finish each other's sentences. But there's one broken bit between them that no amount of home renovations will fix.
In prose filled with hilarious and heartbreakingly accurate one-liners, Stephen McCauley has written a novel that examines how we define home, family, and love. Be prepared to laugh, shed a few tears, and have thoughts of your own ex-life triggered. (Throw pillows optional.)
About the Author
Stephen McCauley is the author of six previous novels, including The Object of My Affection, True Enough, and Alternatives to Sex. Many have been national bestsellers, and three have been made into feature films. The New York Times Book Review dubbed McCauley "the secret love child of Edith Wharton and Woody Allen," and he was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. His fiction, reviews, and articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Harper's, Vogue, and many other publications. He currently serves as Co-Director of Creative Writing at Brandeis University. He has several properties listed on Airbnb in Massachusetts and New York and owns a total of zero toss pillows.