Sunday, July 24, 2011

Love Begins in Winter

Love Begins in Winter
By: Simon Van Booy
ISBN:  9780061661471
Published May 5, 2009 by Harper Perennial
Available Format:  Paperback, ebook

My Rating:  ★★★★☆

On the verge of giving up anchored to dreams that never came true and to people who have long since disappeared from their lives Van Booy's characters walk the streets of these stark and beautiful stories until chance meetings with strangers force them to face responsibility for lives they thought had continued on without them.

I was introduced to Simon Van Booy’s work through a fellow blogger, and I purchased this collection of stories with high expectations.  I also have a copy of Everything Beautiful Began After waiting for me to dive into, and I am certainly looking forward to that even more after this reading!

Simon has an elegantly smooth, lyrical style.  The flow of his stories seems to follow the characters’/narrator’s thoughts, and thoughts don’t always run in a chronological or even logical pattern.  I can see how some readers will adore this while others may find it a bit disconcerting.  There are also some moments where the feel seems to stiffen a bit, perhaps like the author was trying a little too hard or maybe was just a teensy bit too sure of himself.  Overall, however, I found his work beautiful, pleasing, and sophisticated.

I highlighted several passages in this book, a few of which I am including here.  There is no doubt Van Booy certainly has a stunning way with words.

“Music helps us understand where we have come from but, more importantly, what has happened to us...inside each note is the love we are unable to express with words.” 
“Greif is a country where it rains and rains but nothing grows.  The dead live somewhere else—wearing the clothes we remember them in.”
“Another way to punish myself, to look behind for someone I feel but cannot see.”
“If there is such a thing as marriage, it takes place long before the ceremony:  in a car on the way to the airport; or as a gray bedroom fills with dawn, one lover watching the other; or as two strangers stand together in the rain with no bus in sight, arms weighed down with shopping bags.  You don’t know then.  But later you realize—that was the moment.” 
“It ends quickly so that we value it…”