The Affairs of Others, a debut novel by former fiction editor at Playboy magazine Amy Grace Loyd, is just out this month. Lucky for me, back in July I snagged an Advance Reader Copy from the Peregrine Book Company back office. The title tantalized. It promised affairs and a certain amount of voyeuristic intrigue. And the novel did not disappoint. Rather, it surprised me with its gorgeous prose and its fresh portrayal of grief.
After Celia’s husband died, she bought a building in New York City and became a landlady. She remodeled and chose her tenants carefully, thereby creating a sanctum, with thick walls between herself and the world. At the opening of the novel, a new tenant arrives by way of a sublet. Hope is also experiencing a kind of mourning, having lost her husband to another woman, but her method of grieving is less quiet than Celia’s, and when she begins a loud and brutal affair one floor up, Celia’s boundaries can’t help but dissolve.
Loyd’s stunning novel speaks to the isolation of the human condition, in particular that of the city dweller, revealing the poetry in solitude and the intricacies of desire, and offering unexpected intimacies and even a chance at true happiness.