Synopses & Reviews
“Owen writes exquisite stories that lodge somewhere in my chest and keep detonating — loudly, devastatingly — again and again.” — Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
In the ten luminous stories of D. Wystan Owen’s debut collection, the people of Glass, a picturesque village on the rugged English coast, are haunted by longings and deeply held secrets, captive to pasts that remain as alive as the present. Each story takes us into the lives of characters reaching earnestly and often courageously for connection to the people they have loved. Owen observes their heartbreaks, their small triumphs, and their generous capacity for grace.
A young nurse, reeling from the disappearance of her mother, forges an unlikely friendship with a local vagrant. A young boy is by turns dazzled and disillusioned by a trip to the circus with a family friend. A widower revisits the cinema where, as a teenager, he and an older woman shared trysts that both thrilled and baffled him. A woman is offered fragile, uneasy forgiveness for a cruel act from years ago. And in the title story, a shopkeeper’s vision of the woman she loved is upended by the startling revelation of a secret life. Surprising and powerful, and in the classic tradition of fiction by James Joyce, William Trevor, and Elizabeth Strout, Owen’s interconnected stories strike a deep and resounding emotional chord.
"Owen’s characters mostly live in a small town and might themselves claim to live small lives but there is nothing small about the stories he creates on their behalves. His beautifully cadenced stentences plumb the depths of their affections, their ambitions, their defeats; he captures their souls and sets them free. A truly dazzling collection.” Margot Livesey, author of Mercury
"D. Wystan Owen's stories are studies in quiet perfection. They seem simply to go about their business, with no interest at all in breaking your heart, which makes it all the more devastating when they do. They are deep and honest and graceful, and above all unpitying, yet there is an ache at the center of each one." Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Illumination
“D. Wystan Owen’s sentences are so breath-catchingly elegant, his paragraphs so honed for gut-punching power and depth, reading him is a full body experience. The stories of Glass, as subtle as they are profound, reveal us to ourselves in all our emotional complexity, all our loneliness and striving. Think Munro, think Welty, think even, Mansfield — and understand that like the collections by those masters of the short form, this book is strong medicine for a heart-broken world.” Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted
“D. Wystan Owen writes exquisite stories that lodge somewhere in my chest and keep detonating — loudly, devastatingly — again and again.” Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
“D. Wystan Owen has a keen eye for what falls outside the spotlight and what's hidden underneath the surface. Writing in the tradition of Chekhov, William Trevor, and Alice Munro, Owen's stories remind us that the thrills and the dangers of living oftentimes go hand-in-hand with the everydayness of life. In these stories no loss is too small, each moment counts. Owen is not a trendy writer, but a classic one.” Yiyun Li, author of Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life
“Owen’s ability to convey the beauty and grace in small moments of loss and connection, heartbreak and triumph, signals a rare new literary voice, whose words will echo in your head long after you read them.” Nylon.com
About the Author
D. Wystan Owen holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His fiction and essays have appeared in A Public Space, the American Scholar, Literary Hub, and the Threepenny Review, where he is Deputy Editor. A citizen dually of the United States and the United Kingdom, he now lives in Northern California.
D. Wystan Owen on PowellsBooks.Blog
Other People’s Love Affairs
is a short story collection, assembled over the course of many years from what seemed at first to be unrelated stories, but that later began to coalesce around a fictional village, Glass, on England’s southwestern coast. I wanted the book to gaze intimately at the residents of this village, to explore their most private wishes and regrets...