Exes, among other things, is an amazing feat of plotting and engineering, an elaborate puzzle of a book that brings to mind Alan Ayckbourn's Norman Conquests for the intricacy of its carefully calibrated interlocking connections ... Exes, while studded with moments of levity, including a burlesque dance performance involving seven-foot tampons and the lyrics 'I've got the world on a string,' isn't the place to turn if you're looking for cheer. The novel's overall mood is more akin to that of Kenneth Lonergan's recent movie, Manchester By The Sea. In fact, one could easily see the Affleck brothers starring in a film adaptation of this often heartbreaking novel about the devastations of severed attachments.
The [second] section is a bit jarring in form: Clay begins annotating these collected bits of stories, footnotes in the form of chapters. It’s a story within a footnote within a story, but it works. Once you shake yourself free of the discomfort, the structure opens up an entirely new dimension to Clay’s character ... Many of the sections sound similar in voice, and while I enjoyed the cadence and the sentence structure, I would get confused about who was telling the story if I ever put the book down before finishing a section. The main pull of this book is that you don’t want to put it down, though. It is quick and witty and engaging, an intimate look into the lives of these Providence natives that are inexplicably linked by Clay and his brother Eli, even if they put little stock in their having known either of them ... Max Winters is confident and powerful with his prose, and the blend of humor and gravitas is done masterfully.
...[a] stunning debut novel ... Winter handles the intricacies of each story masterfully, presenting us with genuinely moving portraits of those who have lost out or come up short. Each lends their own verse, and their own voice, to the unfolding story ... Winter is a marvelous writer and Exes is a brilliant book, full of backwards, inside-out, and upside down pleasures. Reading his novel is like witnessing a slideshow made out of all the negatives. By which I mean, in the best possible way, that it is unlike anything you’ve ever read before.