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Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories Paperback – Deckle Edge, May 12, 2009


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Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories + The Secret Lives of People in Love: Stories + Everything Beautiful Began After: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061661473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061661471
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Van Booy's sentimental second collection deals heavily in the neuroses and personal traumas of his characters. The longish title story follows Brunno Bonnet, an emotionally debilitated cellist with a fondness for stones who encounters Hannah, a bird-obsessed shop owner with a fondness for acorns. In the beautiful The Missing Statues, Max, a young diplomat is reduced to tears at the edge of St. Peter's Square in Rome as memories of childhood in seedy Las Vegas overwhelm him. In the excellent The Coming and Going of Strangers, a multigenerational story of heroism, tragedy, love and family finds its roots with Walter, a Romany Irish gypsy who falls in love with a Canadian orphan girl. Though Van Booy's tendency to deliver a late-story surprise becomes predictable, each of these stories has moments of sheer loveliness. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In the five impressionistic stories in Van Booy’s latest collection, following The Secret Lives of People in Love (2007), the author continues to develop his highly original style and his overriding theme of isolation versus connection. His characters are often terribly lonely, so much so that when they do find love, it is treated as a miraculous occurrence. Haunted by the memories of dead loved ones and able to readily access the intense emotions of childhood, his characters seem to be not quite of this world. And yet, they are able to express in the most unguarded and heartfelt language their innermost fears, hopes, disappointments, and victories. In “The City of Windy Trees,” George Frack learns, seven years after the fact, that a one-night stand with a Swedish waitress has produced a child. He quits his job and flies to Sweden, eager to meet his child and to turn what might have been a nightmarish situation into the single most important thing that ever happened to him. More about what is felt than what happens, Van Booy’s stories pay beautiful homage to human connection. --Joanne Wilkinson

More About the Author

Simon Van Booy was born in Great Britain and grew up in rural Wales. He is the author ofThe Secret Lives of People in Love, Love Begins in Winter (winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award) and the novel, Everything Beautiful Began After. His latest novel is The Illusion of Separateness.

He is the editor of three philosophy books, titled Why We Fight, Why We Need Love, and Why Our Decisions Don't Matter. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, and ELLE Men, (China), where he has a monthly column. He has also written for the stage, National Public Radio, and the BBC.

Simon teaches part-time at SVA in Manhattan, and is involved in the Rutgers Early College Humanities Program for young adults living in under-served communities. In 2013, he founded Writers for Children, an organization which helps young people build confidence in their talent, through annual writing awards.

He was a finalist for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, and his work has been translated into more than fifteen languages.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
I look forward to his next book.
Paul J. Gelardi
I love this author's writing; it's so real and filled with beautiful imagery and conveys great feeling.
Marie
Some of the most beautiful short stories I've read in a long time.
Larry Hoffer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul J. Gelardi on October 30, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Love Begins in Winter" is a memorable book. The stories are sweet and possess underling truth. Several times I became afraid they might drift off to maudlin but they do not. They are purposeful, tie together and succeed beautifully. Simon van Booy has a gift for observation and there are at least 100 sentences in this book that I could read over and over again. He is a romantic, but one who feels and writes as deeply as he does from knowing both personal loss and growing wonder. He is both wise and hopeful. I look forward to his next book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 24, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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..."
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Meryl Spiegel on November 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
In these five stories, author Simon Van Booy speaks
in a clairvoyant voice and a singular style that obscures
the line between fiction and poetry. His dexterity with language
is so fluid that it summons images of an acrobat flipping
nouns and verbs rather than body parts.
A series of mellifluous daydreams, the collection traverses
time and space exploring the inner lives of individuals who
long for lost love. From Bruno Bonnet, a celebrated cellist performing
in Quebec, who continues to be enchanted by a childhood sweetheart
to George Frack, a down-trodden office worker, who travels to Sweden
to meet the daughter he has just discovered, the characters steal
your heart and take your breath away.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mel u-The Reading Life on October 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is nothing in the description saying this is only one of the five stories in full collection . Avod
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Clarke on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Simon Van Booy writes like a poet. He paints beautiful pictures in my mind. His writing always includes tragedy and melodrama, but so does life. He has a light touch. Well worth reading.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
At first, I was simply attracted by the feel in the hand of this beautifully-produced slim paperback. Then, perhaps because I too am a musician, by the situation on the first page: a cellist waits backstage in a Quebec concert hall to perform a recital: "My name is Bruno Bonnet. The curtain I stand behind is the color of a plum. The velvet is heavy. My life is on the other side. Sometimes I wish it would continue on without me." After the concert, Bruno will walk the empty snow-covered city streets for the rest of the night; it is one of many striking conjunctions of people and places that have such powerful effect throughout the five stories in the book. I might also cite the American businessman weeping like a child in St. Peter's Square in Rome, a little boy sitting on a wall in Las Vegas while his stepfather gambles inside, a lovesick Romany on the West coast of Ireland gazing over to an imagined America, or a desolate man wandering through the almost empty zoo in wintry Stockholm. Van Booy writes in the P.S. section how he often gets inspiration simply by traveling somewhere and walking alone. It works.

But then there is his style. You could see it already in the passage I quoted above -- short declarative sentences with little to wash them down. Here is a longer extract: "My hotel room overlooks the St. Lawrence River. Chunks of ice slip by with the current. Quebec women once set out hard rods of corn on planks of wood on the river's bank. I can see their cotton-white breath and their gray teeth as glimmering fish are spread across barrels. Their aprons are wet. Frost has dusted white the rich brown earth. The ground is hard as stone. Cold has cracked their hands. They laugh and wave to children on small boats drifting. Clouds churn in the eyes of the fish.
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