Tag Archives: Simon Van Booy

Review: Father’s Day

Father's Day

Father’s Day
By Simon Van Booy
Harper, Hardcover, 9780062408945, April 2016, 304pp.

The Short of It:

A quiet non-traditional story about a father’s love for his daughter.

The Rest of It:

Harvey is just a young girl when her parents are killed in an accident. After the accident, Harvey is placed with Jason, her uncle, who was recently released from prison for a crime he committed as a teen. The two have a lot to learn and with the help of his social worker, Jason learns that fathers aren’t perfect and that the love of a child is something you have to hold dear.

I really enjoyed this story even though I found it to be very different from what I’ve previously read by this author. The language isn’t as poetic as his short story collections. The story is told plainly but the tone and quiet nature of the story really appealed to me.

I enjoyed reading about this unlikely pair. Jason is a little rough around the edges but charming and remorseful for his past actions. He comes across as very genuine and sincere. Harvey is mature and wise and the two seem to understand each other, which makes the story work so well.

In the end, all the pieces come together and what you have is a satisfying read.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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.