Exes by Max Winter
A Novel

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Clay’s footnotes often have footnotes, and his matryoshka dolls of commentary about family properties and former neighborhood IHOPs often feel like stifling digressions. Winter is a writer with talent and wit to burn, though it's often undermined by this story's knotty structure.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

For Clay Blackall, a lifelong resident of Providence, Rhode Island, the place has become an obsession. Here live the only people who can explain what happened to his brother, Eli, whose suicide haunts this heartbreaking, hilarious novel-in-fragments. A former movie star impersonates himself; an ex-con looks after a summer home perched atop a rock in the bay; a broken-hearted Salutatorian airs thirteen years’ worth of dirty laundry at his school’s commencement; an adjunct struggles to make room for her homeless and self-absorbed mother while revisiting a salacious high school love affair; a recent widower, with the help of a clever teen, schemes to rid his condo’s pond of Canada geese. Clay compiles their stories, invasively providing context in the form of footnotes that lead always, somehow, back to Eli. Behind Clay’s task — which seems insane, definitely doomed, and, as the pages turn, increasingly suspect — burns his desire to understand his brother‘s death and the city that has defined and ruined them both.

Full of brainy detours and irreverent asides, Exes is a powerful investigation of grief, love, and our deeply held yet ever-changing notions of home.
 

About Max Winter

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Max Winter is a graduate of UC Irvine's MFA program, and a recipient of two Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowships in Fiction. He has been published in Day One and Diner Journal. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with his wife and son.
 
Published April 1, 2017 by Catapult. 224 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Exes
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Jan 23 2017

Clay’s footnotes often have footnotes, and his matryoshka dolls of commentary about family properties and former neighborhood IHOPs often feel like stifling digressions. Winter is a writer with talent and wit to burn, though it's often undermined by this story's knotty structure.

Read Full Review of Exes: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Apr 12 2017

...one could easily see the Affleck brothers starring in a film adaptation of this often heartbreaking novel about the devastations of severed attachments.

Read Full Review of Exes: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

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