“[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.