THE AFFAIRS OF OTHERS, by Amy Grace Loyd, is the debut novel from the former literary editor of Playboy.
Sensuous and unsettling, THE AFFAIRS OF OTHERS, will surely put its claws in you. It may even keep you up.
Celia Cassill is a middle-aged widow of five years. Her husband died a slow untimely death. She has not moved on. She owns a small apartment building in Brooklyn. And spends her days in quiet reflection of the life she led with her husband. They read books, watched movies, and spent a quiet life together.
Celia has carefully chosen her handful of tenants. They each have quiet lives of their own: The young couple who have been trying for a baby; the octogenarian gentleman on the very top floor has barely escaped living in a home; and the gay young man who keeps to himself but has recently decided to visit France for a month.
But enter Hope, the friend of the young man who wishes to sublet while in France. Hope is trouble. But Celia does not anticipate this when she agrees to allow her to stay in the apartment for the month. Hope is going through a painful divorce. Her husband has found a younger lover and dumped her. And Hope is suffering out loud in the only way she knows how. She is causing such a disturbance while entertaining a male visitor that Celia has to confront her about the noise. What Celia finds when she knocks on the door is not quite what she expected. Violence and darkness enters the apartment. And all is about to change.
This extremely intimate look into the lives of strangers can be disturbing and raw. As Celia finds herself being dragged into the lives of her once reticent tenants, you find yourself wondering how this can end well.
Mr. Coughlan, the retired ferry captain, disappears suddenly, trudging off on the streets of Brooklyn to find a job; somewhere he will feel needed again. And his daughter, the shrew, arrives, bringing even more angst to the table.
The supposedly happy couple trying to get pregnant are not quite as happy as it seems. And Celia sees something she shouldn’t see.
But the real problem child is Hope. Celia sees how troubled Hope is over this divorce. And watches how she is trying to kill the pain. Not in a traditional manner, for sure. But we each deal with life’s tragedies in our own way. You may not understand this. You may hate it. But what you will see is how the body has a way of rising up to the occasion no matter the situation. And Amy Grace Loyd shows us what an amazing writer she truly is.
Amy Loyd wrote this book over several years time. She wrote on the subway on the way to work. She wrote on weekends. And she was able to bring the true flavor of NY life to us because she lives there. This is her first novel.
My finished hard copy arrived from Picador publishing. I thank you guys!