Other People's Love Affairs



By D. Wystan Owen

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“[The] debut of a major writer . . . An extraordinary book in itself, full of some of the most exquisitely etched, psychologically complex, tender stories I’ve read. Owen’s work embodies the classic virtues, but he speaks to us from the future; we’ll need a decade or two to catch up.” —Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You andCleanness
In the ten luminous stories of D. Wystan Owen’s debut collection, the people 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 shared 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, and in the classic tradition of fiction by James Joyce, William Trevor, and Elizabeth Strout, Owen’s interconnected stories strike a deep and resounding emotional chord.


  • “Owen is a gentle writer who tenderly sifts through his characters’ lives.”
    The New York Times Book Review

    “It’s a book to savor.”
    The Millions

    “A book to treasure . . . these stories are timeless character studies, bolstered by lovely prose and equally stunning insights. This is a collection to read slowly and savor, stories to read again and again. There is no doubt that Owen is writing in the tradition of William Trevor and Yiyun Li.”
    “D. Wystan Owen’s debut collection of linked stories, Other People’s Love Affairs, is cause for celebration among readers who finished the final page of the late William Trevor’s Last Stories with regret, and who still hold onto hope that Alice Munro will come out of retirement.”
    NY Journal of Books

    “Owen’s style of expression and unique metaphors can be so beautiful they make one stop and reread . . . engaging . . . Owen is a subtle and keen storyteller whose focus on love and relationships reminds us that headlines and hot topics hold no substance next to tales of the human heart.”
    “A lovely work of quiet, heart-wrenching prose.”
    —Publishers Weekly

    “Quietly affecting.”
    Library Journal

    “In ten linked stories, Owen explores 'the realm of human love' through the wistful perspective of characters living in the seaside village of Glass. A delicately crafted first collection.”

    “Owen’s ability to convey the beauty and grace in small moments of loss and connection, heartbreak and triumph, signals a rare new literary voice, whose words will echo in your head long after you read them.”

    “A beautiful book. Owen crafts lovely sentences, many of which unfurl in unexpected ways — which is to say, there is an idiosyncratic, empathetic voice present in each story that invites us to witness heartbreak and hope and the tentative bonds between the two. Other People’s Love Affairs is more than an exceptional debut; it is a masterful work by a writer in full possession of his many gifts.”
    Cedar Rapids Gazette

    “An impressive debut.”
    Shelf Awareness

    “D. Wystan Owen writes exquisite stories that lodge somewhere in my chest and keep detonating—loudly, devastatingly—again and again.”
    Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

    “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’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 Glass, 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'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 The Illumination
    "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.”
    —Margot Livesey, author of Mercury

    “Owen’s stories are uniformly moving.”
    Kirkus Reviews

On Sale
Aug 21, 2018
Page Count
224 pages
Algonquin Books

D. Wystan Owen

D. Wystan Owen

About the Author

D. Wystan Owen holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His fiction and essays have appeared in A Public Space, theAmerican Scholar, Literary Hub, and the Threepenny Review. A dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom, he now lives in Northern California.

Learn more about this author