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The Affairs of Othersby Amy Grace Loyd
Synopses & Reviews
A mesmerizing debut novel about a young woman, haunted by loss, who rediscovers passion and possibility when she's drawn into the tangled lives of her neighbors.
Five years after her young husband's death, Celia Cassill has moved from one Brooklyn neighborhood to another, but she has not moved on. The owner of a small apartment building, she has chosen her tenants for their ability to respect one another's privacy. Celia believes in boundaries, solitude, that she has a right to her ghosts. She is determined to live a life at a remove from the chaos and competition of modern life. Everything changes with the arrival of a new tenant, Hope, a dazzling woman of a certain age on the run from her husband's recent betrayal. When Hope begins a torrid and noisy affair, and another tenant mysteriously disappears, the carefully constructed walls of Celia's world are tested and the sanctity of her building is shattered — through violence and sex, in turns tender and dark. Ultimately, Celia and her tenants are forced to abandon their separate spaces for a far more intimate one, leading to a surprising conclusion and the promise of genuine joy.
Amy Grace Loyd investigates interior spaces of the body and the New York warrens in which her characters live, offering a startling emotional honesty about the traffic between men and women. The Affairs of Others is a story about the irrepressibility of life and desire, no matter the sorrows or obstacles.
"The former literary editor of Playboy makes her fiction debut with an intimate portrayal of the walls erected by a woman after her husband's death, and how impulsive encounters with others break them down. Widowed five years earlier, Celia Cassill now clings to her isolation, allowing herself happiness only in memories of her marriage — books read, movies watched, bodies shared. She chose the tenants in her Brooklyn brownstone for their discretion and respect for 'separateness.' When one of them moves to France, she reluctantly allows him to sublet his apartment to Hope, a beautiful, newly divorced, middle-aged woman recovering from her husband's infidelity. Not long after Hope moves in, another of Celia's tenants — a retired ferryboat captain — disappears, and his daughter holds Celia responsible. That messiness, as well as Hope's spinning-out-of-control life, prove intolerable to Celia, who wanders the city in search of her missing tenant, listening in on the tawdry goings-on in Hope's apartment, and recounting some of her actions during and after the death of her husband. Celia witnesses and participates in small acts of violence and sexual exploration, and her past and Hope's present force down Celia's walls. Lloyd's character study is narrow in scope but long on intensity and emotion. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins and Associates. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“[A] mesmerizing debut…beautifully, even feverishly described. As Celia discovers, the magnetic pull of other people's everyday experiences proves impossible to resist.” Entertainment Weekly
“For first-time novelist Amy Grace Loyd, an apartment building is not simply housing. It is also a metaphor for the paradoxical isolation and proximity we feel among others....With forceful, sensual prose (the author is captivated by the scents of people and places), Loyd allows Celia to discover that ‘life had as many gains as losses as long as we were willing to tally them.'” O, The Oprah Magazine
“A riveting, raw debut….Loyd brilliantly keeps us holding our breath as Celia's barriers disintegrate, her rules fall away, and the shield she holds so tightly over her heart slowly lowers….Stunningly rendered, acutely emotional.” Redbook
“Loyds burnished, spare sentences conceal hidden volumes of emotion, and in its different moods, the book may put readers in mind of Joseph O'Neills Netherland or of a more hopeful version of Claire Messud's recent The Woman Upstairs.” The Millions, Most Anticipated Books of 2013
“This is a book filled with larger-than-life feelings, raw nerves, and sexual intrigue. Small details of everyday life become fraught with as much passion as stolen moments in presumed privacy….Remarkably, Loyd creates a dramatic tension that gives the most domestic of concerns a lusty weight because of what they mask — betrayal, love, and violence.” The Daily Beast
“Loyd's writing is rich and elegant, with elements of allusion and allegory and beguiling characters to draw readers in. Dark and sensual, with just a touch of suspense, this first novel offers a heartwrenchingly honest story about grief while still allowing for a glimmer of hope.” Booklist
About the Author
Amy Grace Loyd is an executive editor at Byliner Inc. and was the fiction and literary editor at Playboy magazine. A recipient of both MacDowell and Yaddo fellowships, she lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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