Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022 and Award Winners

Reviews of Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy

Love Begins in Winter

Five Stories

by Simon Van Booy

Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy X
Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    May 2009, 256 pages

    Genres

  • 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.

Excerpt
Love Begins in Winter


I wait in the shadows.

My cello is already on stage. It was carved in 1723 on a Sicilian hillside where the sea is very quiet. The strings vibrate when the bow is near, as though anticipating their lover.

My name is Bruno Bonnet. The curtain I stand behind is the color of a plum. The velvet is heavy. My life is on the other side. Sometimes I wish it would continue on without me.

The stage lights here in Quebec City are too bright. Stars of dust circle the scroll and the pegs as I am introduced in French-Canadian. The cello belonged to my grandfather who was accidentally killed in World War II.

My grandfather's kitchen chair is also on stage. I can only put weight on three legs. The wicker at the center of the seat is ripped. One day it's going to collapse. When the chair arrives at the concert hall a day or so before a performance, a frantic music director will call with bad news: 'my chair has been utterly ruined in transit.'

An eruption of applause and I take ...

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" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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.

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.

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

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" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Simon Van Booy

If you liked Love Begins in Winter, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes

Books with similar themes


Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Horse
    Horse
    by Geraldine Brooks
    Voted 2022 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers. Geraldine Brooks creates a ...
  • Book Jacket: In Love
    In Love
    by Amy Bloom
    Voted 2022 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers. In 2019, author Amy Bloom and her...
  • Book Jacket: Remarkably Bright Creatures
    Remarkably Bright Creatures
    by Shelby Van Pelt
    Voted 2022 Best Debut Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers. Shelby Van Pelt's debut novel, ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Scatterlings
    by Resoketswe Martha Manenzhe

    The debut novel of a gifted storyteller who has become a sensation in her native South Africa.

Wordplay

The Big Holiday Wordplay

Enter Now

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Bell in the Lake
by Lars Mytting
The engrossing epic novel - a #1 bestseller in Norway - of a young woman whose fate plays out against her village's mystical church bells.
Who Said...

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.

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

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.