Other People Manage

Ellen Hawley

‘A quietly devastating novel about our failings and how we cope’ Patrick Gale

It’s Minneapolis in the 1970s, and two women meet in the Women’s Coffeehouse. Marge is a bus driver, and Peg is training to be a psychotherapist.

Over the next twenty years, they stay together, through the challenges any couple faces and some that no one expects. Then one day things change, and Marge has to work out what she’s left with – and if she still belongs to the family she’s adopted as her own.

Other People Manage is a novel about hard-earned but everyday love. It’s about family and it’s about loss. It’s the kind of novel that only someone who has lived enough of life could write – frequently funny, at times almost unbearably moving, but above all extraordinarily wise.


ISBN: 9781800750975

Published: April 14, 2022


ISBN: 9781800750999

Published: March 16, 2023


ISBN: 9781800750982

Published: April 14, 2022


Reviews for Other People Manage

‘A short, quietly devastating novel about our failings and how we cope; if you can imagine an Anne Tyler or Carol Shields novel about an outsize lesbian bus driver and the ordinary complexity of the second family love draws around her you’re close to what Ellen Hawley achieves here’ – Patrick Gale

Memorable for its examination of the themes of love, loss and family – and Marge’s voice, both no-nonsense and touching’ – Fanny Blake, Daily Mail

Rich in the pleasures of good storytelling … so intelligent about the essential raggedness of real lives’ – TLS

‘It is a novel written with exquisite attention to ordinary detail, elevating the everyday into something miraculous … the pages are packed with ordinary wisdom, the hard-won kind, the blistered-hand and aching-back kind, conveyed in a beautiful, spare poetic prose … a tender and beautiful addition to the literary canon, and a mirror for LGBT readers‘ – Joelle Taylor, Irish Times

‘Ellen Hawley has constructed a powerful and illuminating vision of contemporary love. Other People Manage makes a story that is painful and difficult at the same time it is deeply rewarding‘ – David Huddle, author of Only the Little Bone and Hazel


Ellen Hawley

Ellen Hawley has worked as an editor and copy editor, a talk-show host, a cab driver, a waitress, a janitor, an assembler, a file clerk, and for four panic-filled hours, a receptionist. She has also taught creative writing. She was born and raised in New York, lived in Minnesota for many long, cold winters, and now lives in Cornwall, UK.