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in Stephen McCauley's new novel, "Insignificant Others", but that's okay. His novels are small works of art, where character development is first and foremost. Richard Rossi, a 50ish gay man lives in Boston, with his "SO", Conrad, but he also has an "IO" (insignificant other) on the side. The "IO" is a married man who's torn between his love for his wife and family (and his position in society) and his sexual desires.

Richard is a man who keeps life at a distance. He has many friends, from all parts of his life - work, social, gym, family - so he has a social life, but he's a man who lives a lot in his mind. It's safer there; less real involvement with people and their problems. And the people in his life do have problems, many of which Richard feels compelled to help out with. He wants to help, but he doesn't want to be really involved, at least til towards the end of the book, where he realises his life would be better if he actually engages in it and makes some definite decisions. The ending is a little ambiguous, which is really okay.

McCauley is such a good writer that all his characters are interesting. Even the minor ones. That's a real writer's talent.
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