Item description for The Secret Lives of People in Love by Simon Van Booy...
"Simon Van Booy's stories have the power and resonance of poems. They stay with you like a significant memory."-Roger Rosenblatt
"Van Booy is a remarkable young writer. Taste, touch, smell, sight and sound, in spite of their evanescence, are frozen for a moment in these stories and celebrated, along with their subtle interconnection, in all the aspects of love."-Fred Volkmer
The Secret Lives of People in Love is the first short story collection by award-winning writer Simon Van Booy. These stories, set in Kentucky, New York, Paris, Rome, and Greece, are a perfect synthesis of grace, intensity, atmosphere, and compassion. Love, loss, frailty, human contact, and isolation are Van Booy's themes. In radiant prose he writes about the difficult choices we make in order to retain our humanity and about the redemptive power of love in a violent world.
Born in London, Simon Van Booy grew up in Wales. A keen rugby player, he was recruited to play football for Campbellsville University in Kentucky. He eventually returned to England, where he graduated from Dartington College of Arts. Now a New Yorker, he teaches at the School of Visual Arts and in the Bard College Clemente Course. As a freelance journalist, he writes for several New York newspapers. He has won a first-place award for in-depth reporting from the New York Press Association.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.4" Width: 6" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2007
Publisher Turtle Point Press
ISBN 1933527056 ISBN13 9781933527055
Availability 0 units.
More About Simon Van Booy
Simon Van Booy was born in London and grew up in rural Wales. He is the author of "Love Begins in Winter"--which won the International Frank O'Connor Prize. His non-fiction has appeared in newspapers such as the "New York Times", the "Daily Telegraph", and the "New York Post". He lives in New York City, where he lectures at the School of Visual Arts and is involved in the Rutgers Early College Humanities Program (REaCH) for young adults living in underserved communities. His work has been translated into nine different languages.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Secret Lives of People in Love?
A Unique Voice Jul 8, 2008
Familiar with Van Booy's lyrical prose, I cannot help but experience the same kind of luxurious language while reading this collection. In the story, The Still But Falling World, set in a small village south of Rome, the lives of the inhabitants achieve a balance between the world of lies and a world of acceptance. Nuggets of truth are found too: "My entire family and her husband and children are living the most beautiful lie." The ability to do this, Van Booy writes, stems from love. "In Morano, if you're loved, everything else falls away." There is a wisdom and vulnerability to such writing. I am reminded of Fernando Pessoa's recognition that we make use of lies and fiction to promote understanding among ourselves, something that the truth alone could never accomplish. (Paraphrased from The Book of Disquiet, Penguin Classics.)
Reading Van Booy is like loving a melting snowflake in your palm. The transitory nature of life lies beneath the surface of each piece. Its stories are very much like fables you want to carry around with you. In Everything is a Beautiful Trick the story of Magda, an adopted sister from Krakow, whose left arm is missing at her elbow, the reader is taken into the memories of her brother, reminiscing about her death he only imagines. "Memories spill out through a cracked window, melt into the ground between tall grass, and are pushed back up as wildflowers." This idea that we each have our own versions of the truth makes for a very colorful world, as one experience can lead to a myriad of flowers pushing up later. This collection is full of such gems. I feel a quality of Taoist flow and Buddhist acceptance from this voice, but a voice qualified to move beyond mere acquiescence. Simon VanBooy writes like a master, there are not many others creating works like these today whereby reality is redefined to include imagination. It is the eye/ear/heart of a poet at work here.
There are 18 stories included in this collection, several of which were previously published by Bookman Press in 2002 in a limited run called Love and the Five Senses. Every piece is distinct from the next, but present is a voice the reader will not forget. There is a thread connecting this author to the above mentioned Passoa, and when I read Some Bloom in Darkness, I return to Colette and am reminded "...we can catch and hold--with words..." as VanBooy does so brilliantly for us. In The World Laughs in Flowers, and The Reappearance of Strawberries, both two very beautiful titles so well selected, the theme of memory underlies. "My memories are arranged like puddles--they are littered throughout the present moment. It seems arbitrary, that which the mind remembers, but I know it is not." This line appears early in the first story, long before the character arrives in Greece to hopefully re-ignite a love before it is too late. In The Reappearance..." a story full of longing and human endurance, we read "without memory...man would be invincible." This polarization of elation and suffering is what makes the stories believable; it is what makes this collection profound. There is nothing formulaic or too full of itself. It is balanced and quiet sometimes, and at others, it can be over the top pure poetry, lyrical and enlightened.
Secret Lives Introduces You to Yourself -- Lovely Collection Apr 19, 2008
It's been a very long time since I've stumbled across a book as lovely as this one. I'm usually not one for short stories but I read an excellent review of Secret Lives elsewhere and I decided to take a chance.
The stories are easily manageable, some as short as a few pages. As I was reading them, I was struck by how perfect they each were in length; sometimes collections of short stories leave a reader dangling or the story drags out too long, but Simon Van Booy gives us extremely polished clips of lives in just exactly the right amount of writing. He's succint without being stingy and the stories flow very well.
The stories peeled away the husks from the characters' souls or their private lives, exposing them to the reader in such a poignant way that I was touched by every individual story in one way or another. The writing catches those beautiful and universal glimmers of truth and beauty--be they sad, painful, or ultimately hopeful--and wraps them up in the pages of this book.
I'm planning on giving this out as gifts to friends and family. I enjoyed this book immensely and I highly recommend you give this collection a try--it is a wonderful read you'll come back to over and over through the years.
incredible Dec 20, 2007
i really enjoyed this book for a number of reasons. 1) its a quick read, but you just keep reading the same lines over and over sometimes. (I keep this one close so I can grab it often.) van booy just has a way with words, and especially metaphors. ex: "It was possible to be alive and not exist at the very same moment". 2) so beautiful in its ability to capture the whole spectrum of human emotions - sad, happy, humored, angry, confused, overwhlemed, attracted, sympathetic, everything! and even though every chapter is a completly new story, you feel so drawn in that you feel all of it, too. i cried, laughed, and got mad - the people on the subways in new york would have thought i was crazy if not for their immunity to bizare circumstances. 3) He has a very unique way of viewing the world, and your completly sucked into that. 4) I'm a literature and philosophy junkie (and student) and I found so many interesting links and alluions to other texts/ideas. so if you're like me, this is a very rich and dynamic novel. however, you don't have to see these things in it to enjoy it. in fact, i think its siplicity is perhaps the best part.
please read, you won't regret!
the poignance of solitude Oct 24, 2007
With such a provocative title, you know this book won't disappoint, even though the absolutely accurate name refers to different scenarios than you might imagine. There are so many ways to love and grieve and live completely wrapped in isolation, even in the bustling city. Van Booy thinks of just about all of them and then some in these short stories. He spins sad, hopeful tales in gossamer threads that wind themselves around you until one or two well-placed words in the final sentence bring the whole piece crashing down in brilliant, unexpected ways. These stories mean the most when you feel a bit sad or isolated yourself, perhaps because they shine the light of hope where it needs to go, reminding us that we are all connected by love and our interpretations of living through it. Not to be missed.
A terrific read! Jul 31, 2007
This is a well-written, thoughtful book, full of engaging characters who triumph over life's adversities and share their wisdom with the reader. Van Booy is a master of metaphor--you will find yourself backtracking just to re-experience his images! Few new writers these days create beautiful, literary prose, so this is an author (and book) to cherish and share with others! BUY THIS BOOK and your faith in the publishing industry shall be renewed!