After 30 years apart, a woman reaches out to her first ex-husband—whom she'd divorced after learning he was gay—and the former couple spend a summer together sorting through the difficulties of middle age, including two new ex-relationships from which each is recovering.
McCauley is a master of the charm offensive — social criticism (from a decidedly liberal point of view) sweetened with wit. Some one-liners, like Julie's attitude toward extortionate divorce settlements, are positively Wildean, although underneath there's a serious message about scruples ... In the vein of inveterate beguilers like Laurie Colwin, Elinor Lipman, and Maria Semple, McCauley is warm but snappy, light but smart — and just plain enjoyable. His purview is not the big issues like race, intolerance, and poverty, but life's hiccups and fumbles. He understands the lure of cozy domesticity — and the absurdity of too many throw pillows. And once again, in My Ex-Life, McCauley never lets you forget that love truly is a many-splendored, not easily categorizable thing.
Nothing is more satisfying, however, than what can be aptly described as a plain, old-fashioned 'good read,' especially one as well-written as My Ex-Life from skillful storyteller and bestselling author Stephen McCauley ... You fall in love with these two unique characters who, not so uniquely, are facing unforeseen changes in midlife—both failing initially and ultimately succeeding. You’ll see yourself in them and in the other characters that populate this warm and funny story. It’s storytelling at its best.
McCauley fits neatly alongside Tom Perrotta and Maria Semple in the category of 'Novelists You’d Most Like to Drive Across the Country With' — fine company, indeed. And if there’s more lust for real estate than actual lust within these pages, that feels appropriate for this idiosyncratic couple. From the time David shows up on Julie’s stoop, the reader hopes against all hope that these two might figure out a way to head out to pasture, together.