“A debut story collection of the rarest kind ... you wish that every single entry could be an entire novel." —Entertainment Weekly
Fresh, intimate stories of women’s lives from an extraordinary new literary voice, laying bare the unexpected beauty and irony in contemporary life
*A Most Anticipated Book by Entertainment Weekly,Lit Hub, Vulture, Esquire, Refinery29, and The Millions*
A college freshman, traveling home, strikesup an odd, ephemeral friendship with the couple next to her on the plane. A mother prepares for her son’s wedding, her own life unraveling as his comes together. A long-lost stepbrother’s visit to New York prompts a family’s reckoning with its old taboos. A wife considers the secrets her marriage once contained. An office worker, exhausted by the ambitions of the men around her, emerges into a gridlocked city one afternoon to make a decision.
In these eleven powerful 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. Tender, lucid, and piercingly funny, Objects of Desire is a collection pulsing with subtle drama, rich with unforgettable scenes, and alive with moments of recognition each more startling than the last—a spellbinding debut that announces a major talent.
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.
“A debut story collection of the rarest kind: One in which you wish that every single entry could be an entire novel. Sestanovich takes seemingly everyday situations and goes in deep to reveal the sort of universal truths about society that we're always hungering for." —Entertainment Weekly
“Sparingly told, evoked with lacerating intimacy, these stories explode across the fault lines of the small decisions that make a life ... Extraordinary.” —Esquire "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 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 reminds me of the soulful stories that emerged in mid-century America, the heyday for the form. Each one is bursting with small, explosive moments, like fireworks illuminating the bareness of the protagonists’ lives . . . Sestanovich is a skilled craftswoman, each sentence a carefully positioned tile in a mosaic.” —Vulture “Nuanced, beautifully shaped ... In Sestanovich’s hands, the mundane feels surprising—mesmerizing, even.” —Refinery29
“These stories offer a master class in capturing the complexities of everyday life.” —Booklist
“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
“Sestanovich’s elegant prose takes seriously the quiet unrest that can ravage a life, and makes room for the pleasure and discovery that can be found in that ruin.” —Raven Leilani, author of Luster
“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 Wayward
“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