Everyday People
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Published in: May-June 2024 issue.


by Stephen McCauley
Henry Holt and Company. 336 pages. $27.99


STEPHEN McCAULEY is a novelist whose comedies of manners go back to 1987, when The Object of My Affection came out, followed by a procession of fictional works appearing roughly every five years. All of his novels follow a familiar pattern: A white, gay professional male is having a crisis, is dissatisfied with his life, usually both work and private life. He has straight friends or relatives who are also struggling but want to help the protagonist. Throughout the book, the latest cultural trends are gently satirized with witty dialogue and droll observations on human foibles. (Example: “When someone starts by telling you you can do ‘whatever you want,’ they end up forcing you to do what they tell you.”)

            McCauley excels in writing about the everyday, believing that people reveal themselves when they’re dealing with the small details and inconsistencies of their daily lives.

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Brian Bromberger is a freelance writer who works as a staff reporter and arts critic for The Bay Area Reporter.