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Easy Way Out

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  401 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Patrick O'Neil is a travel agent who never goes anywhere. His closestconfidante, Sharon, is chain-smoking her way to singles hell, passing up man

after man. His parents, proprietors of a suburban men's store whose fortunes

are sagging more visibly than its customers, can't agree how best to interfere

in their sons' lives. And his lover, Arthur (a nice golden retriever of a gu...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1992)
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Robert Dunbar
“The only time love works,” maintains one of the characters in The Easy Way Out, “is when two people are deceiving themselves in exactly the same way.” Stephen McCauley’s novel is spiked with cynical confidences like that, mostly supplied by Patrick O’Neill, the narrator, who early on confesses that he’ll reveal his “most intimate secrets to any innocent bystander who’ll listen.” Patrick focuses this unnerving frankness on mapping the contours of several doomed relationships, particularly his ow...more
I just read this book and it took me back to the days of Armistead Maupin. The way Stephen writes is very personal and you almost immediately feel that you are very vividly experiencing something with substance. The Easy Way Out deals with the very personal issue of control, who has it, how do we use it, who is trying to control us, how can we control other people, but in the end its really about being true to yourself. This book made me see a lot of things about my own life, like what it could...more
Dany Salvatierra
I was first attracted to the novel by its rather unconventional, despicable characters, which fail to appeal the average reader. I, on the opposite, was drawn as a magnet to the miserable lives or these unpleasant, self absorved people, sewn together by the same thread of tragic unhappiness. I was also pleased to find the ending very gratifying, with absolutely no concesions to those who expected a miraculous twist toward the last chapters.
The reason why I didn't gave this book 5 stars is becau...more
I became addicted to this very funny story. Couldn't wait to read it when I got home from work each day. I really liked Stephen McCauley's characters. I will be reading his first book, "The Object of My Affection".
For me, this was unreadable. (I've decided one of the privileges of middle age is that I don't have to finish books that aren't wowing me. So, full disclosure: I didn't even make it to the 1/3 mark here.) I must disagree with all of the blurb-ers who proclaimed the novel "charming". I found it grating, and dated. Alas.
It took me quite a while to get through The Easy Way Out by Stephen McCauley, but that's not because I didn't enjoy the book, or that it wasn't interesting. Getting back into the "work" routine is taking some time, but at least I'm done being sick so I'm back at the gym.

Anyway, this is my favorite quote from the book: "The fifth bite is the real test of food. Remember that. The fifth bite, the third date, the fourth fuck, and the sixth year of marriage. Everything else is inconsequential."
My favorite of McCauley's books and the wittiest, although The Object of My Affection might be a better place to start story-wise. Readers who are uncomfortable with protaganists who are "unsympathetic" may want to leave the room - it ain't pretty watching someone chafe against what they have just to keep their options open. Many of us have been there at some point. This book also captures what living in Cambridge/Somerville, MA is (was?) like. I read it every few years and laugh out loud all ov...more
I would have given it two stars if it hadn't been for the ending, which was less neat and predictable than I was expecting.

It's a perfectly readable book but reviews I had read said things like "witty" and "charming" and I certainly didn't get that. I found the characters rather unoriginal and the narrator unsympathetic without being interesting.

It got me through a 'flu and would pass the time on a journey but there are lots of better books in the world.
As this was on Nancy Pearl's list of books she rereads when she's feeling blue, I thought I was in for some fun. Especially since I liked the film based on another book by the same author, Object of My Affection. But no. The characters were the most self-centered and vapid people I have ever had the displeasure of meeting. I did the obligatory 50 pages and let it drop. Maybe it was funny in the 1990s?
Suzanne Macartney
One of my favorites! A travel agent near Harvard U, who rides his bike to work, cannot bring himself to break-up with his perfect (on paper) boyfriend. Many individual passages are memorable. One critic called this guy "the lovechild of Edity Wharton & Woody Allen". I won't argue.
McCauley's best novel. He uses pretty much the same formula in all his books but this is the most comical, interesting and at times, poignant. Skip his later books and read this one.
Eric Peterson
McCauley's best book, in my opinion -- a brilliant mash-up of very sad and very funny, simultaneously, almost throughout the entire book. This is one I might like to re-read
Sep 04, 2008 Marcelo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marcelo by: Chris Tipper
So good! Set in Cambridge in thw 1990s, this novel has loads of references to Boston and Harvard Square. It's very funny, and in the end, very poignant.
a great stoop find, maybe i like books better when they are free but this was great
Kealii Ballao
He makes his boyfriend tag along, until it's too late, then what?
Love this author - have read every one of his books.
I love Stephen McCauley-always a fun read-
Drôle, satirique, divertissant.
Really good, really funny novel.
Zoe marked it as to-read
Oct 16, 2014
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Steven Brewster
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