Another really great book from this brilliant author. Yet again very little happens and it seems to be about the little eccentricities of life that make these stories so good. The central character feels like the same character from his other books that I have read which could be a huge weakness but as I love this character is can be overlooked. I can't wait to read the next book but was very dissapointed by the ending but see it as authors choice rather than a failing in the story but I do prefer happy endings!
Set in and around Cambridge, Boston, Clyde the narrator tells how he tries to come to terms with his problems: his difficult, critical and supposedly ailing father, his lover Gordon who left him for another man, and his unambitious job to mention a few. Intricately involved in his story are his mildly successful writer friend Louise, and his flat mate the dashingly handsome but annoyingly straight Marcus, both friends from his university days. When Louise appears on the scene she is accompanied by her twelve year old son, Ben, and it seems Marcus is the father. Also present are Clyde's neurotic sister Agnes and her difficult daughter, and the odd-ball occupant of the flat downstairs. There is no doubt that this is a well written and very funny story, with much of the humour along with the action and tension provided by the presence of Ben and his adopted dog Otis. But it is hard to feel much for the adult characters; they are generally aimless and unwilling to accept the realties of life. All might have been redeemed if something had been achieved by the time we reach the conclusion, but apart from Clyde's belated acceptance of some more obvious facts, very little is achieved. Ultimately the story is negative, and at the end I felt very let down.
Thirty-five year-old Clyde is a pleasant man with family problems in the shape of a difficult father and an interminably insecure sister. He's just broken up with Gordon, his long-term boyfriend. Then his old lover Alison comes back into his life, along with her troubled teenaged son and their neurotic dog. McCauley handles these characters well, but the problem is they are never much more than characters.
There is a spark missing that might turn the dilemmas faced by Clyde into interesting human problems. It is well-written and does initially hold the attention - but eventually I found myself reluctant to pick it up and turn the next page. There is just not enough beyond the routine relationship problems to grip and resonate. It promises much but doesn't deliver more than a light, inconsequential relationship saga.