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The Secret Lives of People in Love

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,522 Ratings  ·  242 Reviews

“Breathtaking. . .chillingly beautiful, like postcards from Eden. ..Van Booy’s stories are somehow like paintings the characters walk out of, and keep walking.” -Los Angeles Times

In his critically-acclaimed debut collection of short stories, The Secret Lives of People in Love, Simon Van Booy explores the sway of fate and power of memory on the lives of lonely and vulnerab

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Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published (first published May 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Christine
Jul 04, 2007 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
AHHHHHH! Someone found a way to put it into words! YES!
Minnie Romanovich
Aug 30, 2007 Minnie Romanovich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Rarely have I found a book that begs to be read and re-read, and then read all over again. But, this one does just that.

It is almost like a fine wine... you inhale (it) gently, swirl it around just a bit to observe its delicate colours, and then take the first tentative sip. With each sip, it becomes sweeter and lingers longer in your mouth.

Do read this book. If nothing else, it will make you pause and appreciate the tenderness and beauty of simple moments, and acknowledge that often-abused emot
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Kelly
Jan 10, 2008 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 21st-century
This was a very quick, easy read. I wasn't hurrying or devouring the book, and I still finished it in two days. The stories and pages slip away very easily.

I'll start off with the things I like then, hmm?: there were some stories that did work for me. I really liked "Apples," about the Russian shoemaker who plants an orchard in Brooklyn to remember his daughter. I also really liked "Snow Falls and Disappears," which deals with love's abandonment and how a man deludes himself to go on properly.
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Kaloyana
Sep 25, 2014 Kaloyana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Мисля, че Simon Van Booy ще се окаже едно от откритията ми за тази година. Удивително писане! Отдавна не ми се беше случвало така да бъда погълната от писането на някого - толкова тихо, кротко, уютно, меланхолично, тъжно, тихо, мъчно, затрогващо, задушаващо, и все пак топло, уютно, красиво и мило и истинско и неподправено. Напомня ми за истории и хора, които съм преживяла и обичам или обичам да си спомням. Напомня ми защо съм такава, каквато съм.

И само искам да чета и още и още. Страхотен автор
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Taylor
Nov 04, 2014 Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers
An incredibly moving and touching collection of short stories, all about different kinds of love and its being tested.

Usually a story will incorporate several kinds of love - friendship, family, romance, and compare the two.

A rather large number of the stories show love overcoming some sort of obstacle - death, illness, etc., but somehow the tragedies that are at the heart of some of the shorts become more hopeful in the context of the love that supports and consoles them.

I actually cried quite
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Vishy
Dec 16, 2012 Vishy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Simon Van Booy’s ‘The Secret Lives of People In Love’ through a review of the book that I read. Reviewers raved about the book and it left an impression with me. I remembered it suddenly a few weeks back and so thought I will get his books – there are just three of them – and read them. This is the first of his books that I read.

‘The Secret Lives of People in Love’ is a collection of nineteen short stories. Most of them are about love and loss, sometimes about love regained. But mos
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Andi
Oct 17, 2007 Andi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: shortstories
This book is simply breathtaking. It's a collection of short stories about regular people with mostly ordinary lives. Somehow Van Booy makes every simple detail come to live with his poetic writing and astute observations. If you read no other short stories this year, please give this book a go.
Jalendhari Tabeeb
Little Birds


My mother once told me that I was beautiful,that I had attractive features and bright eyes,that fair complexion was not the only criteria for beauty.I used to sign my diary as Ugly Duckling.I'd chuckled out of relief when my mother told me that.From that day on,I secretly believed that it took a certain artistic inclination to appreciate the beauty I had and the only reason I didn't get many compliments was because people were philistine and superficial.I didn't doubt my mother,never
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Derek Emerson
I was so taken by Simon Van Booy's Love Begins in Winter that I decided to go to his first collection of stories, The Secret Lives of People in Love. As you can see, Van Booy likes love, which says quite a bit in today's world. This collection garnered praise and gathered fans, but it lacks the consistent strength of Winter. Many of these stories sound like an MFA student getting their bearings straight, and indeed Van Booy says that is when he wrote many of these (and won some awards). Some sou ...more
Violette Stepaniuk
What a beautiful, beautiful collection of stories. What makes it so beautiful, apart from Simon Van Booy’s wonderful storytelling ability, is the openness and the vulnerability of the lives revealed.

In the world where collecting likes, friends and connections by the hundreds has become the norm, The Secret Lives of People in Love is a welcome reminder of what it feels like to really get to know someone, to open up and share and dig deep. Like the title of the collection suggests, Van Booy reveal
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Matthew
Aug 29, 2015 Matthew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Simon Van Booy is a genius. He has created a formula to write the perfect short story. It goes like this:

th/m = s

Tragedy times heartache over infinite metaphors equals story.

That's pretty much this book for you.

The problem is, while Van Booy's writing can be beautiful, he often writes in first person, which gives these characters an inauthentic voice that makes for a handful of incredibly unreliable (and unbelievable) narrators.

The French orphan who says, "the key to a good life is to gently
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Finola
Apr 15, 2013 Finola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok so this book literally changed my life! My boyfriend picked it when we were in The Strand in NYC because of the amazingly cute title and when he opened to a random page and started reading a random sentence I fell in love all over again, with him and the book!
This is the best book I have ever read in my lil life! Seriously, I read a section from it every day and will hopefully until I leave this place. I am completely and unequivocally in love with Mr. Booy's writing and if a book could be my
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Darlene
Oct 15, 2011 Darlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do not read many collections of short stories but this book was one of the most hauntingly beautiful books I have ever read. The stories in this collection are about love.... love between parents and children, between lovers,spouses and the love of families. Some stories are about the exuberance of love and some are about the agonizing rawness of love that is lost. But all of these stories are written so beautifully that even though I finished the book yesterday, I spent time today going back ...more
Kelly
It's been four days and I'm still not sure if I want to slap Van Booy or simply pass him a cup of hot chocolate and promise that everything will look better in the morning.

As you read each story, a total of 18, you feel Van Booy's faith in love fading with every missed opportunity, every failure to truly appreciate the love he'd been given, and the realization that everything he'd ever wanted was tucked away in yesterday. I still have no idea why this collection was advertised as a celebration
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Basma
Jul 31, 2015 Basma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I really loved this. It's rare that I read a book that's a collection of short stories and I end up enjoying it as much as I enjoyed this one. I liked his writing, and some of the stories in here are so heartwarming. One of the stories in particular reminded me a bit of a character in one of my favorite books; and I really loved that.. it felt like it could be him in another life. (Very interested in picking more books by Simon Van Booy.)
Jason
Beautiful. Simon Van Booy's sentences are, as Junot Diaz would say, so sharp, they cut the eye.
Hannah Courtright
The Secret Lives of People in Love is a collection of nineteen short stories. Each story paints love in a different way. In French Artist Killed in Sunday's Earthquake, the woman trapped under the rubble does not think of her death as it is coming, but of the small moments of her life that made up love: her grandmother's shoes, a glass of milk, morning light behind the curtain. "she was not so much aware that she was dying as she was that she was alive."

In each story, Van Booy sprinkles beautifu
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Natacha Pavlov
It’s interesting how some books come into our lives. A friend passed this book on to me because it somehow reminded him of me. Interesting—since it didn’t take me long to realize that this wouldn’t usually be the kind of book I’d pick up on my own. (When you have an ever-growing pile of books to read, you simply have to narrow it down and somehow try to stick to that!) So while this wasn’t my usual kind of book, it was a quick and generally enjoyable read. With that said, the book is definitely ...more
Kristen
I read this book as part of the Dangerous Reading Challenge
(http://dangerouslychallenge.blogspot....) and I thought I would read a couple stories yesterday and scatter the rest throughout the month. But! I started reading and could. not. stop. Seriously. I couldn't. I stayed up way past my bedtime and read all the stories last night. The whole time I was moving toward the end, I was begging myself to stop and savor all the stories. I devoured it all while wanting it to never end. This collectio
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Kim
Oct 16, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ik begin steeds meer te genieten van korte verhalen. Er was een tijd dat ik nooit korte verhalen las, laat staan een bundel. Maar toen kwam ik in aanraking met Murakami, en ik moest uiteraard al zijn boeken lezen: daar zaten verhalenbundels bij.

Sinds Alice Munro zoek ik echter zelfs verhalenbundels op. Simon van Booy was een naam die ik op verschillende blogs tegenkwam. De kaft viel op, de titel is prachtig en enkele quotes die ik tegenkwam waren te overtuigend om te kunnen negeren. Het resultaa
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N.
Dec 24, 2012 N. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first time I read The Secret Lives of People in Love (a collection of short stories) was in 2007. It was a small-press release and Simon didn't yet have an agent. A review in the L.A. Times changed all that. I think it's notable that I rated it 3.5/5 when I first read the book, even though I gushed about it and told everyone I knew that Simon Van Booy was brilliant and a name to watch. The initially low rating had to do with the fact that I had favorite stories and there were a couple I disl ...more
Adriana
Nov 21, 2011 Adriana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that makes me with I could give more than 5 starts, because 5 stars just aren't enough! I loved these stories so much! They are gorgeous. I found myself wanting to flag beautiful lines on almost every page. In my opinion, this collection was even better than Everything Beautiful Began After. The stories were more delicate, and while they were all so different, they added up to something larger and coherent in its voice and atmosphere.

I read the P.S. edition, which incl
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sarah
Dec 11, 2008 sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit I'm only halfway through this book of short stories, but I'm very jealous of young Simon's writing style. He turns out some of the most beautiful metaphors I have ever come across, one after another, like a little metaphor farm. If I only gave it four stars it's because on principle I feel a bit sheepish handing out five stars to something that is so sentimental (i read an interview with him where he confessed that he knows a story is finished when it makes him cry...ugh, serious ...more
Zaimah
Jul 11, 2015 Zaimah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful.
Zonaira
This was a sweetly intense book, exotic if I must say so. Very much palpable with deep thoughts and emotions, the very subtlety of life. It takes you into lives of different fictional characters and explore the variations of feelings and thoughts. This book is equivalent to enjoying a peaceful moment alone, perchance in a valley or near softly flowing water and letting yourself getting immersed in the luxury of viewing nature in free time.
Nick Duretta
Mar 28, 2011 Nick Duretta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, haunting stories that show the beauty of love in all its forms. Some of these spare, finely realized tales are melancholy, others are joyous. Van Booy's prose approaches poetry in many places. I found myself underlining certain lines to remember them, such as "It's tempting to imagine how we could hurt someone close, because it reminds us how fiercely we love them." These are the kinds of stories you want to come back to again.
Anika
Jan 04, 2015 Anika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very beautiful collection of short stories; very well written and quite diverse. Mostly, they have a melancholic touch to them, but there is always love. There is always some kind of hope, even if it is only found in love long lost. There are some stories I don't like as much and others I absolutely love, which is probably always the case with such collections. A wonderful read.
Adeline Myers
Apr 16, 2016 Adeline Myers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simon van Booy writes stories where the beauties and sadnesses of life pour off the page like poetry. Some stories I wanted to go on and on into a novel. Others were just perfect glances into a life. Sentences and paragraphs frequently stopped me in my tracks, I would read them over and over again, savoring his art, and grasp of our human experience.
Miriam
Sep 02, 2007 Miriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this collection of mostly quite short stories. Lyrical prose - he's won some poetry award and his style reflects that, but also understated - if that makes sense as a descriptor - which makes the emotional impact of some of the stories stronger for me because they all have this quietness and calm about them.
Цветозар Бонев

The Secret Lives of People in Love is a compilation of short stories about... well I lose myself there. I didn't find any consistent theme across the stories (except maybe snow and shoes). A lot of them seem to be about "people in love" but that love takes on many spectrums and it seemed to me as if Simon Van Booy only covered the "I loved X and X is now dead" or "I've always loved X and now we can finally be together". Nicely written stories with maybe a handful of good things to learn from thi

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Simon Van Booy was born in London and grew up in rural Wales and Oxford. After playing football in Kentucky, he lived in Paris and Athens. In 2002 he was awarded an MFA and won the H.R. Hays Poetry Prize. His journalism has appeared in magazines and newspapers including the New York Times and the New York Post. Van Booy is the author of The Secret Lives of People in Love, now translated into sever ...more
More about Simon Van Booy...

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“I wonder if things can happen too early or too late or if everything happens at exactly the right time. If so, how sad and beautiful.” 135 likes
“I want to do things for people they will never forget. Maybe that’s the best thing I can do in life.” 64 likes
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