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.
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