Objects of Desire: A smart and memorable collection on chronicles of life

Book review: Sharp stories from Clare Sestanovich about young lives turning

Loss and recovery are the mainstay of Clare Sestanovich’s Objects of Desire, with each story focusing on these twinned themes in some guise or other. Photograph: Edward Friedman

Loss and recovery are the mainstay of Clare Sestanovich’s Objects of Desire, with each story focusing on these twinned themes in some guise or other. Photograph: Edward Friedman

“A writer with enviable success, a kind of fame that seemed to befit a different profession: people knew his name and his face, they got sentences from his books tattooed in visible places.” In one of 11 engaging stories in Clare Sestanovich’s Objects of Desire, a young woman attending a reading of a famous writer muses on his atypical celebrity. It is a perspective on the writing world that rings true, fittingly featured in a debut collection that tells the kind of subtle, graceful stories that often get overlooked.

There are no shocking plot twists or hypersardonic voices in Objects of Desire, just an astute chronicling of ordinary life that results in sharp and sometimes surprising tales of people in crisis or undergoing change. They are quiet dramas, rich with unique detail and moments of recognition. In shape and tone, there are echoes of writers such as Elizabeth Strout and Alice Munro, though the storylines have a more contemporary feel.

The Irish Times
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