Thursday, June 08, 2006

I finished Alternatives To Sex by Stephen McCauley today at lunch. It's about a forty-something real estate agent in Boston who shields himself from love with a long string of anonymous hookups until he is forced into a reevaluation of his life by the imminent departure of his best friend. I've read most of McCauley's other books, but I don't recall disliking the main character in those books the way I did in this one. I think it was William's indecisiveness and passivity that bothered me the most. Who was it that said we hate in others the things we hate in ourselves? I suppose that's right in this case, because as soon as he actually started taking control of his life I found myself warming to him. By the end I even liked him. It just seemed to take way too long to get to that point. Normally I would not have kept reading if I felt that way about a character, but I did enjoy most of the minor characters and McCauley is such a witty writer that he'd make me laugh even when I was nearly ready to throw the book out.

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