The Secret Lives of People In Love
I purchased this collection of short stories at The Booksmith in San Francisco last year. I savored each like a cup of perfectly brewed tea - just the right temperature and flavor. The prose is delicate, quietly impactful. This is the whipped cream experience I'm always looking for.
The Secret Lives of People in Love, by Simon Von Booy, contains 18 stories, all dealing with love in some manner - the love between romantic couples, but also love of children or parents lost, love of life's ephemeral beautiful moments. The language is so yummy, like this passage from Conception, "I marveled at how the pillow, like a small theater, had staged countless dreams."
In the story, French Artist Killed In Sunday's Earthquake, a mere 3 pages long, Van Booy eloquently describes a woman being crushed under the weight of a collapsed building "...her life, like a cloud, split open, and she lay motionless in a rain of moments."
My most favorite of all is Where They Hide Is A Mystery, a story about a young boy coping with the loss of his beloved mother. He is heartbroken until he meets a stranger who has coped with the death of his own wife by understanding that she is still all around him, "My own wife... is the blend of light in late summer that pushes through the smoky trees to the soft fists of wind fallen apples." He urges the boy to realize she is not gone, she's just "changed clothes." It's magical the way he's able to to see death as a continual transformation, not a severe ending. The story also illustrates Van Booy's underlying concept of the potential for closeness with strangers as one of the reasons we are able to survive the pain of living.
I've since read one of Van Booy's novels, The Illusion of Separateness, which was more like a set of short stories woven together in one over-aching plot, and am planning to read the newest publication Father's Day.