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.
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