Review: The Secret Lives of People in Love

The Secret Lives of People in Love

The Secret Lives of People in Love
By Simon Van Booy
Short Stories (single author)
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061766121, March 2010, 208pp.)

The Short of It:

Lovely and quiet.

The Rest of It:

This collection of short stories was sent to me some time ago. I can remember the day clearly. It arrived, I plunked myself down to read the first story, sighed and then placed the book on my nightstand. You might think it odd,  but for me, it was the perfect reaction. The writing in that first story blew me away. I think I was a little bit awestruck and needed to take some time to process the beauty of the words themselves.

What happened next was odd, though.

I did the exact same thing every time I picked it up. There are nineteen stories and over the course of the year, I’d choose one to enjoy. Not every night (obviously) and not even every week, but whenever I felt like it. I just finished the book last month and it was such a pleasure to take the time to really enjoy this one.

These stories deal with people in love… or various stages of love and sometimes (often) loss. They are simply told, yet with beautiful, flowery prose. Here are some examples of the writing:

This morning I woke up and I was fifteen years old. Each year is like putting a new coat over all the old ones. Sometimes, I reach into the pockets of my childhood and pull things out.  (Little Birds)

…her life, like a cloud, split open, and she lay motionless in a rain of moments. (French Artist Killed in Sunday’s Earthquake)

Words fell from their minds like a rain of hard stones, snapping branches of blind desire, trapping the fresh blooms of feeling within the darkness of meaning. (The Mute Ventriloquist)

I really enjoyed peeling away the layers and enjoying this one in small bits. Although it wasn’t my intention to take an entire year to read it, reading it this way seemed proper. These are not stories to rush through. This was my first experience with Van Booy’s writing but it definitely won’t be my last.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

15 thoughts on “Review: The Secret Lives of People in Love”

  1. Oh I do love your thoughts about this one…

    I truly think that’s the best way to enjoy short stories…

    I never even thought about doing it this way…

    Buying this one now…

    I loved the excerpt!!!

  2. I read Love Begins in Winter a few months ago, and loved it. Van Booy has a gift for being so gentle and beautiful in his prose, and I want to read more of his books. I have heard great things about this one, and also his full length novel. I am so glad that you loved this one! It sounds like a great read.

  3. I don’t think I have ever read a book that way, but based on what I’ve heard about this author, it would be the perfect way to experience him. He really sounds like a beautiful writer.

    1. You’re telling me! I saw a video interview of him the other day and I think I drooled a bit on my keyboard.


  4. The way you read these stories makes perfect sense since they sound worth savoring. I won this book not too long ago and I’m looking forward to starting to read the stories slowly.

    This is a beautiful post, Ti

  5. Sounds like a great book to take the time like that to enjoy. I actually forgot about the recent book of his that I have to read. Ahh so many books!! Hope to read it soon because I’ve heard that is great too.

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