Reading guide for Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Love Begins in Winter

Five Stories

By Simon Van Booy

Love Begins in Winter
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback: May 2009,
    256 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Introduction
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.

Questions for Discussion
  1. In the title short story, why do the two main characters hold on to physical things—acorns, stones, mittens, the grandfather's broken chair? Do you see these objects as physical burdens or as lovingly preserved souvenirs? What is your most precious possession and why?

  2. In Love Begins in Winter, the narrator muses that, "The most significant conversations of our lives occur in silence" (42). Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

  3. When Bruno and Hannah release their kites into the air in Love Begins in Winter, how does this simple action reflect how they have lived for the past 20 years?

  4. Do you think that the act of the narrator in "Tiger, Tiger" biting her boyfriend at the end of the story is an acceptable regression to her child-like state—a playful reinvention and display of her love? Or do you think she has just gone crazy? Do you think they stay together in the end? Why or why not?

  5. In "The Missing Statues," discuss the relationship between the two cities of Las Vegas and Rome. Do you think it's strange that anyone would find beauty in a city like Las Vegas?

  6. In "The Coming and Going of Strangers," do you agree with Walter's understanding of only experiencing one pure first love? What does this contribute to your discovery that Walter ends up marrying Jane?

  7. Also in "The Coming and Going of Strangers," why do you think the farmer stopped to pick up Walter's father and the child? Was it because he was in World War II?

  8. Why does George in "The City of Windy Trees" live such an isolated life? Do you think George did the right thing by going to see his unknown daughter Lotta, in Sweden? What would you have done?

  9. In George's letter to his sister Helen, he writes "I regret things I haven't done—rather than things I have—strange eh?" What sorts of things do you think George wishes he'd done? Do you feel the same about your life?

  10. In "The City of Windy Trees," all the adults work together to make a child's life happy. Is this true for other children in the book? Would you agree with the idea that children are the most important characters in Van Booy's fiction?

  11. When Lotta and George are ice skating in "The City of Windy Tress", George breaks away "to skate clumsily but without falling over" (224). What type of metaphor for parenting is this? Do you find this to be true in your own life if you're a parent, or in the lives of other parents you know?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Harper Perennial. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...
  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.