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The Affairs of Others

2.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,290 ratings  ·  232 reviews

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
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Picador
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 ·  1,290 ratings  ·  232 reviews

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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
1.5 stars

It's unfortunate that I can't quote from this book (I received a free galley copy from Netgalley) because then you could get a good giggle from some of the word choices. In an effort to be smart and literary and high-brow, Loyd fills her novel with weird metaphors and bizarrely stifled phrases. The Affairs of Others is a thorough mess, disjointed with no apparent plot and little character development.

It's also told in a pseudo internal monologue, with the protagonist, Celia, telling us
Oct 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Really did not like this.
1. The author tried way too hard to be a "great writer" as in: let's write flowery prose that does not advance the story but shows how talented I am.
2. So everybody - and I mean EVERYBODY- want to have sex with the mopey, sad, closed off to the world, can't get over her husband's death Celia? Really? Why? By the middle of the book I was just irritated by her.
3. Not one like able character in this book.
Jessica Jeffers
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
Celia is a widow who doesn't know how to really move on. Five years after her husband's death, she is the landlord of a small apartment building in Brooklyn. She is very picky about whom she chooses as tenants, because she very much wants to be left alone and not be forced to interact with anyone too much.

Then one of her tenants has the opportunity to travel, but only if Celia will allow him to sublet his apartment for a few months to Hope. Celia finds herself intrigued with Hope and her desire
Patrice Hoffman
The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd is the debut, literary fiction novel about a woman who loves her seperateness. After Celia's husband dies prematurely from cancer, she buys an apartment building consisting of four apartments. She becomes the landlord to three other tenants in a downtown Brooklyn building. Celia is highly practiced at remaining apart from the people in her building until Hope arrives.

Hope is an unwanted subletter who Celia sees as a threat to her being able to remain alon
Robert Blumenthal
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book because it was highly praised by one of my favorite authors, Jess Walter. In the middle of my reading it, I noticed that it was generally not well-liked by many, if not most, of the readers on Goodreads. In finishing it, I can see how some readers will not find this book to be their cup of tea. It is told in the first person narrative of a woman who lost her deeply-loved husband to cancer when she was in her thirties. The narrative, subsequently, is immersed in grief and self- ...more
Nov 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
Not a good book. Before I’d gotten through the first ten pages, I could tell the author’s writing style was not to my liking. And although some reviewers have said they didn’t like the writing style because it was too “literary,” I have to say that I love literary fiction and that’s the main genre I read. So it’s not that the writing style is too literary, it’s that it’s too formal and stiff, almost self-consciously arty, as if it’s trying for literariness (whatever that is) and trying much too ...more
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it

This book has a fantastic beginning, especially the first several pages. Brilliant. It's strong for a while, very good buildup. And then, everything goes to hell. The motivations of the main character, Celia, stop making sense. They are extremely uncharacteristic. I was loving her voice in the beginning. She was widowed in her early thirties, and even 5 years from now, she is almost speaking through a veil. She avoids connections and clutches the stories o
Amanda Byrne
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-books
When I first saw the title of this book, I misread it as The Lives of Others and got super excited - the 2006 German film is one of my all-time favorites and...well, none of that matters now. Suffice to say, it's not a book based on the movie.

That said, the first quarter of the book was reminiscent of Wiesler's surveillance of Georg Dreyman - Celia maintains her precious distance from her tenants, yet couches her observations of their comings and goings, their fights, their odd tics, as a need t
Amelia Gremelspacher
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"My husband died a difficult death. I went with him, or a lot of me did.", August 27,
This review is from: The Affairs of Others: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
Celia is now in her thirties and notices that, "The body of a woman aging. It's a landscape that, even as it vanishes, asks a lot of the eyes." She is a widow, a contingency for which her younger self has not planned. Celia has taken her small savings and bought a converted Brooklyn brownstone in which to live out her days. She has finished it
Bonnie Brody
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Celia Cassill has been widowed for five years and still keeps her husband close to her heart and psyche. With the money he left her, she bought a brownstone in Brooklyn that houses four apartments, hers and three others that she rents. She carefully picks her tenants and wants to maintain good boundaries and her own solitude. However, things do not happen that way. One of her tenants, an elderly man named Mr. Caughlin disappears and Celia is involved with trying to find him along with the police ...more
Aug 22, 2013 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book. I really did. And in some ways, I suppose, I did, but not enough to make me feel like this is a completely worthwhile read. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
As literary fiction, I didn’t expect car chases and the like, so it is not that which made this a bit of a dull read. The problem, I feel, is that while we get a lot about the protagonist’s inner workings, we still don’t really come to relate to her in any substantial way. Yes, the writing is lovely, with some
Sep 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
Very unique style of writing. Sentences and words flow in an odd rhythm unlike any I've read before. Every time I sat down to read, it took me a page or two to get back into the swing of the story. And there's not really much story to speak of. I enjoy a good character-driven book, but this one lacked any real thread looping then all together. Sure, there's the building itself, and the missing tenant, and the remaining crazies. But not much else. Nothing that lent any solidity. It was all vey li ...more
Kate Padilla
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I akin this book to a symphony.

It starts out slow, testing the reader and the story. The further you read, the more depressing it gets, but before long the tempo, and mood, increases and you leave with a sense of hope you would have never guess existed halfway through.

This is a book I need to think more on before writing a full review, however. Right now, just a day after finishing it, I can say without hesitation that it is beautifully written, and wonderfully executed. My more in-depth thought
Jo Verity
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
I picked this book off the 'new in' shelf at my local library. I had no idea what to expect although the cover blurb/premise was promising - a small apartment house and the intertwined lives of landlady and tenants. There was a good story in there somewhere but Loyd's writing style got in the way. It seemed to me that she was trying too hard, forcing it. In places it was overwritten. Not for me, I'm afraid. ...more
Feb 05, 2014 added it
Can't remember where I saw that this book got a good review, but I thought it was terrible! I found the story contrived and the characters unbelievable. The only part I liked was the descriptions of New York City! ...more
Laura Serico
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Oy. Grief atop piles of grief on Grief Street, Brooklyn. Not the best book to read at the start of a beach vacation.
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Looking at this book's ratings on Goodreads (which average at approximately 2.7 stars), you would think this book was unbearably bad. Here's the thing: While it's not a masterpiece, it's a solid piece of literary fiction.

Now, I listened to this book on audiobook, which may have changed my experience reading this book. Still, while there are some clunky lines, I liked the writing overall.

The book, to me, was like most pieces of literary fiction of a certain era: It's about a New Yorker nearing
Since The Affairs of Others is a first-person narrative told through Celia’s point of view and with her observations and opinions, one’s enjoyment of the novel hinges on whether one finds Celia a credible narrator. A young, financially independent widow with sadomasochistic tendencies and a penchant for hiding from the world may cause some readers to cringe at the self-pity and self-imposed seclusion while also causing them to feel horrible for doing so. For Celia’s actions, especially regarding ...more
Jai Francy
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
If there was ever a woman that needed a hobby, it’s the protagonist in this book. The character development in this book, especially the main character, is extremely thin. The relationships between all of them shallow. If much of what one knows about the main character after completing any book is her cleaning schedule, the name of the cleaning lady and the approved cleaning methods and products – there is a problem with character depth.

The main character, Celia, is not able to move on with her
Barbara Ell
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I received this book free from Picador for my honest review.

The book is OK. I like the writing, the details and what was going on. However, I had problems with the characters. Celia seemed to float along with however the wind took her. She "self-medicated" but sometimes one never knew whether or not she had taken any pills because she didn't act any differently. Maybe because of this, then the other characters seem 2-dimensional. Hope seems a bit more, but never truly developed. I think the cha
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it

OK, had to read it again! Here's my review: I'll start with the positives: yes, I will probably read this author's next book, the reason why is because of the hauntingly beautiful, evocative writing this debut author exhibits. I found myself marking sentences and paragraphs as I went along, reading them over, sometimes aloud, as poetry (Kudos to you for that, Ms. Loyd!). That said, I actually read the entire book twice, because the storyline was so dense with the characters' actions and details
Christopher Litsinger
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2013
This book can be summarized thusly:
A young woman's husband dies. Hope moves into the apartment above her (yes, really, her name is Hope). Only when she learns to love Hope is she able to move forward in life.
Oh, and there's some "racy" sex scenes that seem to be mostly there to convince you that the author is hip enough to do that. They're pretty boring.
So, yeah, there's that.
Also, for the first few chapters of the book, the protagonist seems way too old for her description. Maybe this is inten
Sayword Eller
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm glad I didn't read the GR reviews before I began reading this book.

Celia is a landlady who likes to be on her own. Widowed five years prior to the beginning of this story, The Affairs of Others gives the reader a peek into the life of a woman intentionally and completely cut off from the world around her. She chooses her tenants wisely, making sure they meet a criteria that only she knows, but everything changes when Hope enters her life. Celia changes. I love a story that stretches like a
Theresa Smith
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
What beautiful prose existed in this book was overshadowed by a constant degeneration into rambling that seemed to have no end. I continued reading out of a vain hope that this book may turn a corner, give me a reason to like Celia enough to have endured her ramblings, but this was never realised. Such a shame, the cover and blurb did much to draw me in, but sadly the content failed to deliver. The moments of true poignancy were just too few and far between to justify the investment of having bo ...more
Feb 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
I believe I can honestly say this is the worst novel I have ever finished. I chose to give it one star because I actually felt compelled to see it to the end. I found the book to be overwrought, terribly written and populated with characters that were either completely unlikable or else, caricatures. Obviously the author pulled in a great number of chits earned from her days of being an editor in order to get this published as it is a vanity project in the worse sense of the word. One star is be ...more
Jeffrey Matthews
Feb 16, 2014 rated it liked it
This book had a LOT of metaphors throughout. Some of the single lines make really great quotes, the kind that would be on a poster or an email tag line. It was interesting to see how people's lives affect each others; some enhance. Some degrade. None stay the same. In this book most were enhanced or changed for the better. Some good revelations and some great moments of closure. However Celia is on another level... ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I listened to the audiobook and it was okay. The prose was descriptive and clean and crisp at times and it reminded me a little of Atlas Shrugged.

Then the book dove into drugs and became predictable with Les and Hope and went off the rails at that point.

The ending was horrible and did not tie up any loose ends or answer any burning questions like what was the party for?

I have a hard time recommending this book and this is why I stick mostly to non-fiction.
Elizabeth K.
Dec 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Review on The Millions blog
Shelves: 2014-new-reads
This started off okay, when I was hopeful that it was going to be about awful people having a comeuppance, but it turned out that no, the book was about the awful people. While it is true that poor decisions can be the basis for interesting stories, it's not automatic. All the poor decisions depicted here are tiresome.

Overall, I'm embarrassed it was set in New York.
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Story and perspective was unique and could have been a great book, but felt like I was reading in a Xanax haze (maybe that was the goal since Celia popped then whenever she could)and wanted more out of characters and story. Some good lines, many just indulgent and confusing.
Jan 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This story of Celia, a widowed landlady and the tenants in her New York brownstone, was pretty good as far as it went but was disappointed with the ending when so much more could have been made of it - 6.5/10.
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Amy Grace Loyd, author of The Affairs of Others, 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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