Eleven stories that lay bare the beauties and ironies of contemporary life--a debut of sly and disarming power that announces an extraordinary new literary voice.
*Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Lit Hub and The Millions*
A college freshman, flying home, strikes up an odd, ephemeral friendship with the couple next to her on the airplane. A long-lost stepbrother's visit to New York prompts a reckoning with a family's old taboos. An office worker, exhausted by the ambitions of the men around her, emerges into the gridlocked city one afternoon to make a decision. A wife, looking at her husband's passwords neatly posted on the wall, realizes there are no secrets left in their marriage.
In these stories, thrilling desire and melancholic yearning animate women's lives--from the brink of adulthood, to the labyrinthine path between twenty and thirty, to middle age, when certain possibilities quietly elapse. With powerful observation and mordant humor, Clare Sestanovich opens up a fictional world where intimate and uncomfortable truths lie hidden in plain sight. Objects of Desire is a book pulsing with subtle drama, rich with unforgettable scenes and alive with moments of recognition, each more startling than the last--a spellbinding, brilliant debut.
About the Author
CLARE SESTANOVICH is an editor at The New Yorker. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Harper's, and Electric Literature. She lives in Brooklyn.
“Clare Sestanovich’s stories compelled me like gravity, and offered sharp, surprising, singular bursts of grace. Her characters are observed with wry, prism-gazed tenderness; sketched deftly and persuasively with just a few perfect strokes. The details go off like bombs. These stories know strange, important truths about what it feels like to be alive.” —Leslie Jamison, author of The Recovering and The Empathy Exams
“Astonishing—one of the best story collections I’ve read in a long time. The stories in Objects of Desire are subtle and sophisticated, written with sensitive lucidity and warmth; their emotional effects are brought about naturally, almost indirectly, and one leaves each of the stories feeling a little homesick. I feel like I've found a new favorite writer.” —Brandon Taylor, author of the Booker Prize finalist Real Life
“These stories are wickedly perceptive—Sestanovich precisely measures the distance between how people think of themselves and how the world reads them. A mesmerizing, exquisite debut.” —Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others and Wayward
"Objects of Desire is one of those rare collections that is both deeply emotional and affecting and also just so much fun to read. Clare Sestanovich is a gifted observer and writes a sentence sharp enough to cut yourself on. A magnificent debut." —Nathan Englander, author of Dinner at the Center of the Earth
“Objects of Desire is a marvel. With pointillist precision, Clare Sestanovich captures the apparently inconsequential decisions on which a life turns: the phone call made or ignored; the email replied to or archived; the invitation accepted or declined. Her observation of ordinary moments is transformative—I loved this book.” —Miranda Popkey, author of Topics of Conversation
“Sestanovich’s debut collection demonstrates a gift for pithy detail [and] a high command of craft. [Her] observations…give way to poignant insights into the characters’ psyches. Objects of Desire finds cohesion around the quiet angst of narrators who long for experiences, other people, and states of being just beyond their grasp… Intelligent, technically accomplished stories.” —Publishers Weekly