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Stephen McCauley in Person

Join us on Wednesday, February 21 at 7 PM as Stephen McCauley talks about his new novel, You Only Call When You're In Trouble. He will be joined in conversation by Heather Abel.

About the Book

Is it ever okay to stop caring for others and start living for yourself?

After a lifetime of taking care of his impossible but irresistible sister and his cherished niece, Tom is ready to put himself first. An architect specializing in tiny houses, he finally has an opportunity to build his masterpiece—“his last shot at leaving a footprint on the dying planet.” Assuming, that is, he can stick to his resolution to keep the demands of his needy family at bay.

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 embroiled in a Title IX investigation at the college where she teaches that threatens her career and relationship. And after decades of lying, his sister wants him to help her tell Cecily the real identity of her father.

Tom does what he’s always done—answers the call. Thus begins a journey that will change everyone’s life and demonstrate the beauty or dysfunction (or both?) of the ties that bind families together and sometimes strangle them.

Warm, funny, and deeply moving, You Only Call When You’re in Trouble is an unforgettable showcase for Stephen McCauley’s distinctive voice and unique ability to create complex characters that jump off the page and straight into your heart.

About the Author

Stephen McCauley is the author of eight novels, including The Object of My Affection and My Ex-Life. Several of his books have been national bestsellers, and three have been made into feature films. He has also written two novels under the pseudonym Rain Mitchell. He has taught at U Mass, Boston, Wellesley College and Harvard, and currently directs the Creative Writing program at Brandeis. 

About Heather Abel

Heather Abel’s debut novel, THE OPTIMISTIC DECADE, was published in May, 2018. Her writing has appeared in the New York TimesSlate, the Los Angeles Times, and the online Paris Review among other places. She worked as a reporter and editor for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and High Country News, during which time she talked to gold miners, fossil hounds, Native American environmental activists, and really bored teens in rural Utah. She received an MFA in fiction writing from the New School University, and she’s taught writing at the New School, UMass Amherst, and Smith College. Raised in Santa Monica, she now lives in Northampton, MA with her husband and two daughters, and she dreams of the Colorado high desert.


This event is free and open to the public, but we ask that you RSVP by registering here


Event date: 
Wednesday, February 21, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
9 College St
South Hadley, MA 01075
You Only Call When You're in Trouble: A Novel By Stephen McCauley Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250296795
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - January 9th, 2024

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