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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.
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.
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.
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.
Laura M. (Roswell, NM)
The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd
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.
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.
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.
Patricia L. (Seward, AK)
Good-by forever and then?
Early in The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd, the protagonist Celia Cassill says "My husband died a difficult death. I went with him, or a lot of me did….American life asks us to engage in an act of triumphant recovery at all times or get out of the way. I have been happy to get out of the way." Celia's attempt to counter her grief by becoming a fastidious yet inconspicuous landlord is destined for failure. In reference to her tenants she says "I am not here to make a family of them, to know them too well…" yet she keeps a watchful eye on each, secretively tackling their anguish in lieu of her own.
Yvette T. (Boca Raton, FL)
Well written, but . . .
Loyd's book is not without its surprises, especially the extent to which Celia becomes involved physically. While the details of the story are engaging Loyd's prose is more so. An example is her repeated reference to hands; Les's large sometimes violent ones and her own, small but possibly equally destructive. This book does not feel like a first novel and is highly recommended for anyone seeking a compact, satisfying read that will linger once completed.
The very flowing and sometimes quite expansive writing style in The Affairs of Others gave me early concern. I was reminded of Elegance of the Hedgehog, which was also set in an apartment building and whose concierge gave rambling diatribes about her superior intelligence and discourses on Foucault and postmodernism. I did not like that book at all, but I soon realized that at least The Affairs had a plot! My real problem is that I did not care about the characters and thought that some of the evolving relationships were contrived. I was not compelled to pick up the book and continue reading, though I did finish it. I will not recommend this book to others