On the verge of giving upanchored to dreams that never came true and to people who have long since disappeared from their livesVan 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.
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
If you liked Love Begins in Winter, try these:
The stories in This Is How You Lose Her, by turns hilarious and devastating, raucous and tender, lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weaknesses of our all-too-human hearts.
Slender, potent, and utterly engaging, I Married You For Happiness combines marriage, mathematics, and the probability of an afterlife to create Tuck's most affecting and riveting book yet.
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