You Only Call When You're in Trouble
by Stephen McCauley
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Pub Date 09 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 16 Feb 2024
Henry Holt & Company, Henry Holt and Co.
“I don’t think I will find a book I love more this year.”
—Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author
“Funny, poignant, joyous, explosive, but most of all affirming of our connections to one another. You Only Call When You're in Trouble is a book to cherish. A book that loves you back. What more could you want, my gosh? Read it!”
—Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less Is Lost
“Stephen McCauley’s delicious new novel follows its characters, light on their feet as they search for their best selves. Along the way, they dodge with agility an assortment of contemporary obstacles—flagging relationships, employment insecurities, delusional parents. The author’s rare ability is finding the humor lining sadness to create a complex story with emotional depth.” —Carol Anshaw, author of New York Times bestseller Carry the One
“The good thing about having everything go wrong in your life all at once is that you don’t have to pretend to be doing fine.”
After a lifetime of kindly taking care of his irresistible but impossible sister and her wonderful daughter, Tom is finally ready to put himself first. An architect, he finally has an opportunity to build his masterpiece with a new client: “his last shot at leaving a footprint on the dying planet.” Assuming, that is, his rich, fickle client—the last woman he slept with before coming out—doesn’t follow through on her threats to mess it up.
Naturally, that’s when his phone rings.
His niece, Cecily (the real love of Tom’s life, as his boyfriend reminded him when moving out), is caught up in a Title IX investigation at the college where she teaches, and his sister Dorothy is planning to invest her net worth in a retreat center with a “famous” wellness guru. Oh, and after thirty-four years, Dorothy now wants to reveal the identity of Cecily’s father.
Tom does what he always does—answers the call. And therein lies either the beauty or dysfunction, (or perhaps both) of the sometimes too tight ties that bind families together.