“My Ex-Life” by Stephen McCauley— A Formerly Married Couple

McCauley, Stephen. “My Ex-Life”, Flatiron, 2018.

A Formerly Married Couple

Amos Lassen

You are going to have to wait until May to red Stephen McCauley’s new book but I have been lucky enough to get advance news about it. “My Ex-Life”

is about a formerly married couple that haven’t seen each other in many years. David has spent the last twenty years as a gay man who helps spoiled San Francisco teens get into colleges and Julie, is a twice-divorced mother and a middle-aged pot-head who has turned her falling-apart house into a Bed & Breakfast.

David’s is getting no pleasure from his job and boyfriend, Soren, has left him for another man and he. David’s life seems to be spiraling downhill and he has put on weight. The only pleasure he gets is looking at the view of San Francisco he has from his under market value apartment. But his landlord has decided to see the building and to add further insult, he is selling it to Soren and the surgeon.

Julie is also having problems. isn’t having much of a better time herself. She has become friendly with Carol, the woman that Harry, her second husband, left her for and Julie ignores bills by throwing into them into the back seat of her car. Mandy, her teenage daughter refuses to apply to college and Julie can’t seem to quite smoking marijuana. Harry lets her know that if Mandy does not begin applying to colleges, she will come and live with him and Carol. A surprise comes when Mandy lies says that she’s been working with David Hedges, Julie’s first husband. Julie calls David and asks if he’ll help Mandy who tells him that he should come visit them and stay in one of their B&B rooms and he accepts.

It does not take long before David and Julie are living together and pick up where their marriage ended. There is still chemistry between them but… Below is praise from those who have read the book.

My Ex-Life is a pleasure of the deepest sort; it’s 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, bestselling author of Mrs. Fletcher

My Ex-Life is a rich, yet delicate ragout of wonderfully vivid characters, hilarious dialogue, and spot-on cultural criticism. It satisfies on every level.” ―Richard Russo, bestselling author of Everybody’s Fool

“Before you read My Ex-Life, make sure the person you sleep with is willing to be woken constantly by your laughter. Stephen McCauley writes sparkling, graceful, witty prose with an ease and fluency that seems like sleight-of-hand. If I were the kind of reader who highlighted brilliant passages, the whole entire book would be underlined.” ―Katherine Heiny, author of Standard Deviation

“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, its endearing characters, and his wry, big-hearted cynicism. Oh, if all books could be like this one!” ―Elinor Lipman, author of On Turpentine Lane

My Ex-Life is Steve McCauley’s best novel so far and that’s saying a lot. For those of us who devoured his previous books and eagerly awaited another, My Ex-Life is cause for celebration. McCauley’s trademark wit and cultural commentary is all here, as is a cast of smart, complicated, heart-sore characters…. You’re going to love My Ex-Life.” ―Anita Diamant, author of The Boston Girl and The Red Tent

“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

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