Other People's Love Affairs // D. Wystan Owen
Deputy editor of the Threepenny Review and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, D. Wystan Owen makes a stunning debut with his short story collection, Other People's Love Affairs: Stories. Primarily set in the English seaside village of Glass in the mid to late 20th century, this collection of ten quietly luminous stories explores the earnest ways people extend themselves in search of connection. Inspired by authors such as Katherine Mansfield and William Trevor, Owen’s collection follows the classic short fiction tradition of exploring the intense dramas of everyday life. In “Lovers of a Kind,” 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 in “At the Circus.” A widower revisits the cinema where, as a teenager, he and an older woman had trysts that thrilled and baffled him in “A Bit of Fun.” And in the title story, a shopkeeper’s vision of the woman she loved is upended by the startling revelation of a secret life.
“The stories of Glass, as subtle as they are profound, reveal us to ourselves in all our emotional complexity, all our loneliness and striving,” writes Pam Houston. “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.” Surprising and powerful, Owen’s interconnected stories strike deep and resounding emotional chord.
“I think this is an absolutely brilliant book from an extraordinarily gifted writer…The stories are patient, exquisite, written with an attention to and reverence for character that astonishes me. D. Wystan Owen writes…stories that lodge somewhere in my chest and keep detonating—loudly, devastatingly—again and again.” —Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
"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 sentences 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
D. Wystan Owen holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His fiction and essays have appeared in A Public Space, the American Scholar, Literary Hub, and the Threepenny Review, where he is Deputy Editor. A citizen dually of the United States and the United Kingdom, he now lives in Northern California.
“[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.