A new novel from the author of The Affairs of Others.
Amy Grace Loyd’s atmospheric and erotic new novel traces the storms inside us, between us, and around us. Set in a headache clinic in the basement of an abandoned church in Brooklyn during unprecedented extremes of weather, it explores the intimate terrain of human pain and pleasure, how our bodies can collude with us and against us, mislead us all the way to addiction and emotional and sexual obsession.
The story is an increasingly fevered collision of perspectives: those of the Doctor, a man outrunning some ghosts but especially his own desires; Ruth, the nurse hired by the clinic’s domineering patron—Mrs. Adele Watson—to spy on the Doctor; and Sarah, a former patient, who has gone missing but left the Doctor a written account of her days before vanishing.
Sarah’s journal chronicles an affair she had with a married man, which she believed could solve not only her chronic pain but the loneliness it caused her. But nothing goes to plan, for her, for her dedicated doctor, or for Ruth, already in exile from everyone and everything she once knew. At once interior and expansive, timely and transcendent, THE PAIN OF PLEASURE is a charged, daring, and ultimately hopeful imagining of what we hold on to when the storms keep coming.
"Sensuous and seductive, decisively literary in style, THE PAIN OF PLEASURE strikes an immaculate balance between its many arresting pleasures of language, which stop the reader cold on the page, and its enticing mysteries, which keep the pages turning. Expect to emerge dazed and dazzled—and to go out searching for your own makeshift community."
"In her second novel, Loyd explores how suffering and our efforts to escape it define us…[She] is a sensuous writer who lingers over details…no 21st-century reader needs an explanation for aberrant, alarming weather, and Loyd's choice to just make this part of the background of her fictional world creates a wonderfully eerie undertone."
"Loyd's vibrant…latest (after The Affairs of Others) involves alternative medicine and a missing person's case. In an experimental neurology clinic in the basement of a deconsecrated church in Brooklyn, Dr. Louis Berger treats his patients' migraines with marijuana and other, less orthodox, methods…As Loyd delves into each player's side of the story, she crafts memorable characters…This is worth a look."
“Loyd’s stellar THE PAIN OF PLEASURE is an environmental, medical, and erotic thriller. That sounds like a lot, but it’s really just barely enough. Loyd brings all her considerable skills to bear here, generating a taut narrative with a satisfying (and sizable) cast of characters she does a sublime job animating. You might look at the novel’s central conceit—the link between pain, pleasure, and power—and assume this is too-well-covered ground, but she truly makes it her own.”
—Chris Rutledge, Washington Independent Review of Books
"Loyd’s writing is intelligent and graceful…A surprising and bold fusion of ideas and sensory detail that stimulates and illuminates."
—Charles Yu, author of the National Book Award-winning Interior Chinatown
"Loyd has traveled deeply down into the nexus of pain and pleasure to reveal an endlessly generative pulsing heart. Akin to the style and intimate designs of Marguerite Duras with the epic smarts and atmospherics of Richard Powers, her new novel reminds me that to fully embrace life means to…enter embodiment without apology. Take the leap. This book is thrilling."
—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of the national bestseller The Book of Joan and Thrust
"A vivid, beautifully written novel about the line between suffering and salvation. A smart, sensual writer, Loyd has created an unforgettable world in this old Brooklyn church…peopled with marvelous characters weathering the torment of their own desires."
—Jess Walter, author of the bestsellers The Cold Millions and Beautiful RuinsPa
Amy Grace Loyd is an editor, teacher, and author of the novel The Affairs of Others, a BEA Buzz Book and Indie Next selection. She began her career at independent book publisher W.W. Norton & Company and The New Yorker, in the magazine's fiction and literary department. She was the associate editor on the New York Review Books Classics series and the fiction and literary editor at Playboy magazine and later at Esquire. She's also worked in digital publishing, as an executive editor at e-singles publisher Byliner and as an acquiring editor and content creator for Scribd Originals. She has been an adjunct professor at the Columbia University MFA writing program and a MacDowell and Yaddo fellow.