Stephen McCauley's much-loved novels The Object of My Affection and The Easy Way Out prompted The New York Times Book Review to dub him "the secret love child of Edith Wharton and Woody Allen." Now McCauley stakes further claim to that title -- and more -- with a rich and deftly funny novel that charts the unpredictable terrain of family, friends, and fathers.
Thirty-five-year-old Clyde Carmichael spends too much time at things that make him miserable: teaching at a posh but flaky adult learning center; devouring forgettable celebrity biographies; and obsessing about his ex-lover, Gordon. Clyde's other chief pursuit is dodging his family -- his maddeningly insecure sister and his irascible father, who may or may not be at death's door. Clyde's in danger of becoming as aimless as Marcus, his handsome (and unswervingly straight) roommate, who's spent ten years on one dissertation and far too many fizzled relationships.
Enter Louise Morris. Clyde's old friend and Marcus's onetime lover is a restless writer and single mother, who shows up with Ben, her son and a neurotic dog in tow. The looming question of Ben's paternity nudges Clyde back into the orbit of his own father -- and propels our endearing hero into the kind of bittersweet emotional terrain that McCauley captures so well.
Kevin Allman Washington Post Very, very funny....Clyde is just as charming as he is neurotic.
Marhta Duffy Time A funny, fluent novel...McCauley's particular skill lies in his grasp of the bonds that link straights and gays in the maze of life's daily dealings...
US magazine Stephen McCauley writes novels so delightful you want to collar passersby and read them passage out loud.
David Weigand San Francisco Chronicle Sparkling....The Man of the House ripples with humor...McCauley's best novel to date.
USA Today Charming...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 that you'll find yourself reading aloud.
The New York Times Book Review A comic novel about human predicaments....McCauley has mastered the small yet perfect comic gesture....Readers will welcome back the rueful and rumpled comic vision that is unmistakably his own.
Kirkus Reviews A wry and melancholy comedy of modern manners....A lovely, funny book that represents an impressive strenghtening of McCauley's themes and talent.
Time Out New York Fine, funny, and appealing... The Man of the House is consistently compelling in its depiction of the intertwining relationships between Clyde's friends, neighbors, and relatives...A talented and winning writer.
St. Petersburg Times (Fl) A painful, humorous look at life as a grown-up, where great expectations give over to silent resignations...Clyde's observations are witty and right on target.
Elle Irresistible....McCauley's latest and most emotionally complex probe into family dysfunction.