Early Morning Riser

Early Morning Riser

By Katherine Heiny
336 pages
April 2021

A wise, bighearted, boundlessly joyful novel of love, disaster, and unconventional family

Jane falls in love with Duncan easily. He is charming, good-natured, and handsome but unfortunately, he has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan's old girlfriends everywhere--at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away.

While Jane may be able to come to terms with dating the world's most prolific seducer of women, she wishes she did not have to share him quite so widely. His ex-wife, Aggie, a woman with shiny hair and pale milkmaid skin, still has Duncan mow her lawn. His coworker, Jimmy, comes and goes from Duncan's apartment at the most inopportune times. Sometimes Jane wonders if a relationship can even work with three people in it--never mind four. Five if you count Aggie's eccentric husband, Gary. Not to mention all the other residents of Boyne City, who freely share with Jane their opinions of her choices.

But any notion Jane had of love and marriage changes with one terrible car crash. Soon Jane's life is permanently intertwined with Duncan's, Aggie's, and Jimmy's, and Jane knows she will never have Duncan to herself. But could it be possible that a deeper kind of happiness is right in front of Jane's eyes? A novel that is alternately bittersweet and laugh-out-loud funny, Katherine Heiny's Early Morning Riser is her most astonishingly wonderful work to date.

"The funniest novel of the year... You have to pay attention to a book like Heiny’s... Sweetly sardonic... Delightful."
—Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post

"The heroine of Katherine Heiny's buoyant new novel, Early Morning Riser, is a young second grade teacher named Jane who lives in Boyne City, Mich. On the very first page of the novel, Jane locks herself out of her house, calls a locksmith, and winds up spending the night and, eventually, her life with him… Heiny writes in a simple droll style about ordinary people who are often being less than their best selves… [A] literary descendant of Jane Austen, sharing Austen's essentially comic world view."

"Katherine Heiny shows readers how to pay attention to the little things... Jane loves Duncan. But should she? Duncan is a handsome and friendly woodworker who moonlights as a locksmith in small-town Boyne City, Iowa. He’s the guy everybody knows, wink-wink… Fortunately, Duncan is more complicated than that, as is everyone else in Katherine Heiny’s quiet whirlwind of a novel... At its heart, this is a serious story full of lightness."
—Connie Schultz, The New York Times Book Review

"Early Morning Riser, which unfolds episodically over a period of 17 years, has the makings of a witty romantic comedy that evokes the work of Laurie Colwin... Spot-on descriptions and sharp observations about marriage... Flat-out wonderful—sharp and funny and melancholic in equal measure."
—Joanne Kaufman, The Wall Street Journal