The Affairs of Others: Book summary and reviews of The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd

The Affairs of Others

By Amy Grace Loyd

The Affairs of Others
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2013,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

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 soon 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 its sorrows or obstacles.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Lloyd's character study is narrow in scope but long on intensity and emotion." - Publishers Weekly

"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

"This first novel by Brooklyn-based Loyd, a former fiction and literary editor at Playboy , is a sophisticated, sympathetic, and beautifully written portrayal of contemporary individuals who come to share more than just an apartment building." - Library Journal

"Like a neat apartment, Loyd's story hasn't an element out of place; she writes expertly, without wasted words. Yet the affect is curiously flat: Celia is matter-of-fact and, it seems, scarcely involved in the heart of her own story; only the supporting players seem to feel much of anything, including, in a nicely written turn, anguish over the plight ofthe polar bears. " - Kirkus

"A wonderful novel, beautifully written and sensuous, rich with emotion and psychological truth. Amy Grace Loyd's prose hums with desire as she creates a Brooklyn walk-up that comes alive with the yearning of its tenants and moves them toward an unforgettable ending - suspenseful, erotic, and ultimately hopeful." - Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins

"Debut novels don't come any more sure-handed and deftly written than The Affairs of Others. But it's the damaged, brokenhearted Celia - Amy Grace Loyd's brave, all-in protagonist - who latches on to us and refuses to loosen her grip." - Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls

"Hypnotic, beautiful, and dangerously erotic, this book trembles with feeling, every sentence a breath, every sentence a seismographic wonder of observation. Scuba-diving once, I watched minute sea grass oscillate with the motion of the sea, and this is how I think of the narrator of this magnificent novel - she sways with every movement of the world, both interior and exterior, registering it all, and always you wonder, with an aching heart, what will become of her." - Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir!

"Rich and fresh...The writing is just so wonderfully good: What other authors labor over, Loyd seems to just toss off. Throughout there are sentences to linger over, or for me to grin at with envy. Loyd has written a Rear Window story of a confined society described with Hitchcockian, voyeuristic detail." - Ron Hansen, author of Mariette in Ecstasy

The information about The Affairs of Others shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Carole V.
lackluster
I received a copy from Picador, and was looking forward to reading it. The story had great potential; Celia was a recent widow and owner and landlord of a 4 unit brownstone. I was looking forward to this nice complicated story with all sorts of plot lines...and yes, I guess maybe they were there, but I just didn't care much. I thought the characters were flat, and just really didn't care about Celia either. Some of her writing was beautiful though, and I would read her next book.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Lou R. (Denton, MD)
Affairs of Others
This book was not what I was expecting. Celia, the landlord, had not completed grieving her husband. She wanted to be alone; however, her tenants pulled her into their lives with the necessities of the building. In taking care of the building, Celia lived her life through her tenants. She took liberties with them and felt entitled to their personal lives when she entered their apartments. Taking care of the building gave Celia order and balance until she met Hope. Celia did not immediately take to Hope; however, circumstances threw them together and made Celia realizes how much in common she had with Hope. I recommend the book. We tend to judge or dislike a person for something we have a conflict within ourselves.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by J W. (Davis, CA)
A Stunning Story of Grief
This story is about grief in many forms and how each person deals with his or her own grief. Some ways are expected, others are very surprising. It's a beautifully written book that quietly tells the separate human stories which are at times shocking and often very sad, but also illuminating. It is a book I think about. It is a book I recommend to friends.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Meredith K. (HACKENSACK, NJ)
Stick with it!
I found the novel very well written with a good even flow. At first I found it boring but after reading it for a while I realized how good the book really is.

The main character Celia is a woman who is looking at life through an imaginary window. She has everything carefully worked out so she can look out but nobody could look in. That all changes when a new tenant moves into her brownstone.

Hope is just the opposite of Celia. She loves people and enjoys having a good time. Unfortunately Hope is needy and she and Celia start a friendship that brings out the misery that befall humans when perfectly laid plans for long lasting marriages fall short of expectations.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Laura M. (Roswell, NM)
The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd
The lackluster plot in this book was really disappointing. Several promising threads were brought up, but nothing ever developed, or things inexplicably resolved themselves. The end just kind of glided by while I was still waiting for something to happen. While it had the makings of a promising story, it was not at all a satisfying read.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Barbara G. (Lisle, IL)
Coming out of Her Shell
When a person experiences the severe illness of a beloved spouse, learning to administer drugs to alleviate the pain but still loses the partner, one normal tendency is to withdraw from social interaction. This is the scenario in which the reader encounters Cassie Cassill. But instead of withdrawing completely, she purchases a small Brooklyn brownstone apartment building, carefully interviewing prospective tenants to establish clear boundaries of privacy. But when one tenant accepts a job in Paris and sublets his apartment to an older woman artist, Cassie is introduced to the sounds of that woman's rough sex with a lover. Gradually, in learning about all her tenants and their peccadillos, she learns not only about them, but about herself and her own emotions.

...14 more reader reviews

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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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