Summary and book reviews of Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy

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

Book Summary

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.

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...
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!

Reviews

BookBrowse

Simon Van Booy's characters in Love Begins in Winter dive after love without hesitation, act on mysterious coincidence, and bandage their tragic wounds with new memories. The stories are on the long side (50-70 pages), offering the reader time to piece together the fragments of characters and story. Van Booy writes with a combination of chunky, breath-paused sentences and poetic fluidity. The rhythm reminds me of someone recounting a dream – each detail built upon the last, gaining momentum until the revelation erupts:

One day, George Frack received a letter. It was from very far away. The stamp had a bird on it. Its wings were wide and still. The bird was soaring high above a forest, its body flecked with red sparks. George wondered if the bird was flying to a place or away from it… Then he opened it and found a page of blue handwriting and a photograph of a girl with brown hair. The girl was wearing a navy polyester dress dotted with small red hearts. She also had a pink clip in her hair. Her hands were tiny.

The handwriting was full of loops, as if each letter were a cup held fast upon the page by the heaviness of each small intention.

When George read the page, his mouth fell open and a low groaning resounded from his throat.

Van Booy is generous with philosophical musings and declarations about love, life, memory, which, paired with coincidence and fateful encounters, give these stories an ethereal, other-worldly quality – much like the suspended-in-time feeling of falling in love.

Abbreviated from "Short Stories for Summer" by Lucia Silva  

Media Reviews
Indie Next List Pick

Simon Van Booy's second collection offers intricate stories brimming with supple and mysterious energy. One never knows with Van Booy's distinctive style what will happen next, what will break your heart and heal it at the same time, what symbolic gesture will be rife with coincidence. His writing is pitch-perfect, and he has such great respect for his characters. Van Booy deserves many more fans.

Publishers Weekly

Though Van Booy's tendency to deliver a late-story surprise becomes predictable, each of these stories has moments of sheer loveliness.

Booklist

More about what is felt than what happens, Van Booy’s stories pay beautiful homage to human connection.

Kirkus Reviews

The author has a pitch-perfect tone for writing about the tender passion. Instead of florid, melodramatic prose, the five tales feature hushed, patient storytelling that's deliberately abstracted; Van Booy's goal is to capture the ineffable nature of falling in love.

Author Blurb Binnie Kirshenbaum
The stories of Love Begins in Winter are stylistically brilliant and emotionally beautiful. I found myself gasping, literally gasping, at surprises so perfectly attuned as to be inevitable. Simon Van Booy is an extraordinary writer, and this is a book to be read and reread again and again.

Reader Reviews
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!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Love Begins in Winter, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes

Books with similar themes


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
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Take This Man
    Take This Man
    by Brando Skyhorse
    "A chorus of six men calling me Son might sound ludicrous to you, but to me it's the sound of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...

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

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

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.