Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Secret Lives of People in Love

Read 5/11/10 - 5/12/10
4 Stars - Strongly Recommend

Thanks to the ever so wonderful employees at Harper Perennial for giving me the opportunity to review this collection of short stories.

The Secret Lives of People in Love is a quick read, coming in just shy of 200 pages. But do not allow it's length to underwhelm you. Simon Van Booy manages to squeeze an insane amount of love, loss, grief, and heartbreak into each and every one of his short stories.

A few that caught my heart and gave it a little tug:

The Reappearance of Strawberries walks in on a dying man in a hospital who requests a bowl of strawberries. Though he cannot eat them, he struggles to breathe in their scent. They remind him of his wife, and allow him to feel close to her in last moments.

In Some Bloom in Darkness , we meet Sabone - a railway station worker - who is hopelessly, obsessively in love with a mannequin.

Distant Ships tells the story of a man who has not spoken a word in over twenty years, grieving the loss of his son due to a fatal car accident.

And then there is Apples, the story of an old man who sneaks out to a vacant lot time and time again to plant apples trees to honor and remember his deceased daughter.

Van Booy understands what it is like to have loved and lost. He writes as though he has personally experienced and documented each of these moments in time. Calling out every detail - from the biting cold air, to the crunch of a shoe against the pavement - and chronicling every painful moment, he breathes unique life into each character.

A melancholy look into the heart of those who have lost a piece of what they held most dear... how they suffer, how they heal, and how they survive another day.


  1. This is really good review. I'm looking forward to re-reading these great stories. -L.O.

  2. Thank you. Which stories resonated the most for you?

  3. Wow. Thanks for sharing this review. This collection sounds really good. But now I know I should save it when I'm ready for something heartbreaking