- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 8 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743224752
- ISBN-13: 978-0743224758
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.3 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 408 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #728,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Insignificant Others: A Novel Hardcover – Jun 8 2010
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“The master of the modern comedy of manners.” —USA Today
“Charming…McCauley displays terrific comic insight about our penchant for denial while still revealing a great deal of compassion for human foibles.” —Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald
“A sparkling writer . . . he tosses off witticisms with the alacrity of a Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde.” —Heller McAlpin, NPR.org
“Insignificant Others is vintage McCauley, offering up the usual mixture of hilarity, pathos, irony, and regret. It’s The Office meets Jane Austen, with a twist.” —Mameve Medwed
“A novel with pithy observations, lightness of touch, and generosity of spirit.” —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Stephen McCauley is the author of five bestselling novels. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Visit StephenMcCauley.com.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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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.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Richard Rossi is psychologist working in the Human Resource Department of Connectrix, a software company. He is involved with Benjamin Lamartine, a bisexual married man, while in a seven year relationship with Conrad Mitchell.
Conrad is partner's with Doreen McAllister and they own Mitchell and McAllister, a consulting firm that helps very rich people buy and display important pieces of art. Their work forces them to travel a lll over the country, so Richard and Conrad have a few insignificant others to entertain themselves while their partners are out of town. They have an “understanding.”
Meanwhile, Conrad has an affair with Clarke, an older gentleman from Columbus, OH who is trying to buy him an art gallery so that Conrad move there with him. Clarke wants to move up from being insignificant to being significant.
Richard is having issues with work. After a lawsuit involving one of Connectrix workers is filed. Richard has to manage the employees involved. It’s not going well and Richard is worried that his opportunity for a promotion is in trouble.
Without any suspense, logic, or explanation, it all works our. Richard and Conrad stay together. They both break up with their "insignificant others," and things stabilize at work.
The book is told from the first person point of view. As I was reading it, I felt I was being preached at. The author tends to psychoanalyze it’s characters so he’s constantly telling you things, instead of showing you things. There is absolutely no suspense - it’s like it has been told in a flat affect - and there is no climax. The main character has an obsession with working out and has issues about aging - probably the only redeeming quality of the work. Bisexuality and closeted homosexuals are discussed - Benjamin - in a as a matter of fact way. The issues of open gay relationships are also discussed, but I felt the book did not decide as to whether that was a good thing or not. The book is a very easy read, shallow and fluffy, but I don’t see it as being one of the best 100 gay and lesbians books ever written.
I've enjoyed all of McCauley's books to date, and this one also has his trademark wit, along with an insightful and realistic character-driven story. Though some may perceive it as a bit negative, I see it as a good take on the "understandings" many of us use to define our relationships, since they generally lack legal boundaries or rules. Five touchy-feely stars out of five.
- Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
How Richard chooses to deal with all of the chaos in his life is at the crux of Insignificant Others. The only way Richard has ever been able to handle anxiety and stress is through exercise, but even that doesn't seem to provide the relief he needs. For the first time in his life he is being forced to take control and make tough decisions, and he isn't too sure he wants to.
I've been a big Stephen McCauley fan for years, but I'll admit this book isn't one of his best. Richard's indecisiveness and willingess to let everything unfold around him got frustrating after a while. As one character said to him, "if you never say what you want, if you never figure out what you want, you never have to worry about being disappointed in not getting it." I didn't feel as if any of the characters were particularly likeable, and while I was interested to see how the story unfolded, I found the ending to be the most intriguing piece of the book. I'm a little disappointed, since McCauley usually takes a few years between books. I'd definitely recommend you read Object of My Affection (much, much better than the Jennifer Aniston movie) or any of his other books instead of this one.