“The Secret Lives of People in Love” by Simon Van Booy

The Secret Lives of People in Love is the second collection of short stories by Simon Van Booy published by Beautiful Books in the UK. Van Booy won the 2009 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award for his first collection which I loved, and I couldn’t wait to read these new stories set in New York City, Wales, Cornwall, Paris, Rome and Greece. As the title suggests, the stories explore the private feelings and memories of individuals experiences of love.

And it is exquisite. There really isn’t a better word to describe the latest collection of short stories. Tales of love and loss are beautifully written, with the emotions flowing off the page and into your heart.

I am in complete awe of the mastery of a writer who can express the depth of a love between a man and woman, and the heartbreaking sadness of loss within the confines of a story that is only a few pages long, but Simon Van Booy achieves just this.

The first book of his short stories I read was Love Begins In Winter, and these ranged from 25 to 70 pages in length. Although there are some longer stories in The Secret Lives of People In Love, they are on the whole much shorter in length, some just a few pages long. In fact, my favourite, “The Reappearance of Strawberries” is only three pages, but heartbreakingly poignant.

A truly wonderful book that has shot to the top of my favourites for this year.

4 thoughts on ““The Secret Lives of People in Love” by Simon Van Booy

    • It was actually a bit difficult to get hold of – I had to order a copy from Waterstone’s and it took about 10 days to come in. Well worth the wait though. Hope you get a review copy sent soon.

  1. I’m so glad you ‘get’ Simon Van Booy, Claire. He’s got to be one of the most articulate and profound writers walking the planet today. As some one once said to me, “The world is a beautiful place in In Simon Van Booy’s eyes”, and I couldn’t have put it a better way myself.

    As I type I’m only 6 hours away from seeing him live at EdBookFest (along with Kevin Barry), and I know even before seeing him, that today my heart is going to feel as though it’s been touched by an angel. I can barely contain myself 🙂

    In preparation for this event I’ve actually been working my way through ‘The Secret Lives of People in Love’ (along with Kevin Barry’s ‘There Are Little Kingdoms’) on my blog. And although I’ve not finished it in time, I review every story individually. So if you have a minute to pop along, then there’s plenty of Simon Van Booy love flying around the place.

    Anyway, great to discover another Van Booy fan. Hope to speak soon.

    • Thanks for your comment, Rob. I’m envious that you’ll be seeing him talk at the Edinburgh Festival, although I did listen to BBC Radio Scotland’s Book Café at lunchtime with Simon Van Booy, and he sounded like a charming and eloquent man.

      I’ve popped over to have a look at your website, and I’m sure I’ll become a regular visitor to pick up some recommendations.

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