In the classic tradition of fiction by James Joyce, William Trevor, and Elizabeth Strout, these interconnected stories will strike a deep and resounding emotional chord.
In the ten luminous stories of D. Wystan Owen’s Other People’s Love Affairs (Algonquin Books), the residents 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 had secret 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, these stories mark the debut of a remarkable new talent.
A Best Book of 2018
Amazon • Washington Independent Review of Books
"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 Other People's Love Affairs, 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 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
"D. Wystan Owen writes gorgeous, exquisite stories that for all their subtlety and quiet lodge in your chest and detonate—loudly, devastatingly—again and again. He's an extraordinary writer, and this is a debut of exceedingly rare accomplishment and power."
Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
"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 A Few Seconds of Radiant Film Strip
"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."