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Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  979 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
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.
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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K.D. Absolutely
Jul 07, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Maria Ella
The love stories that do not insult your intelligence.

Sometimes off-tangent but brilliantly and artistically focused to their intention: to show how love can creep into our consciousness even when we are doing menial things like walking on a deserted wet pavements on a rainy day. These stories are magical. I do not mean mushy or you should be on your teens or 20's or 30's to be enthralled by these stories. It is more of the way Van Booy captured the scenes (whether it is winter or summer or in
...more
Gloria
Jul 24, 2011 Gloria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Do you believe in love?

Whether it be in the form of two strangers who meet but have always known one another;
a woman trying to make sense of her past and present;
an abandoned mother and son befriended outside a Vegas casino;
an Irish boy longing for his secret love;
a man forgotten by life who suddenly is revived by a new role thrust upon him.

I will admit to being a little cynical when it comes to love-- at least in the traditional form. I generally avoid (and often make fun of) "chick flicks," "c
...more
Erik
Apr 01, 2010 Erik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So maybe Van Booy appears a bit pretentious in the "About the Author" section. And maybe here and there I found a line I thought was trying much too hard to be profound in one way or another. And maybe I want to grab Van Booy by the lapels and smack him around a little for being three years younger than myself and writing the way he does. But all is easily forgiven after reading this collection of five stories.

His writing was simply beautiful: in its eloquent use of metaphor, its well-timed deta
...more
میعاد
وهم جدايى از اين نويسنده رو بيشتر دوست داشتم، شايدم به اين علت ِ كه من با مجموعه داستاناى كوتاه مشكل دارم!
Caitlin
Jul 21, 2011 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I don't read a lot of short stories. I tend to have a fondness for huge tomes that I strengthen my arms with by dragging them around with me wherever I go (they're too hard to read in bed, though - a problem). I like short stories, but sometimes they just end too fast and I want more. There are exceptions to this - I love Hemingway's spare stories and now I'm adding Simon Van Booy to this list.

At their core, these stories are about loneliness, the yearning for connection, the difficulty of makin
...more
Kaloyana
Oct 22, 2014 Kaloyana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Страхотно пише авторът! Заради него ще заобичам да чета разкази.

Music allows us to face God on our own terms because it reaches beyond life.

Actually years mean nothing. It's what's inside them.

Trusting is harder than being trusted.

Going back somewhere at night is almost like haunting the world after death.

Grief is a country where it rains and rains but nothing grows.

While lies and deception destroy love, they can also build and defend it. Love requires imagination more than experience.

Solitude
...more
Patrick Duncan
This is really more of a 3.5. And it may even wind up being upgraded at some point because I feel like these are stories I will continue to think about. My problem is that the whole time I was reading it, I couldn't decide if I liked it or if I was annoyed by it. Some of the stories felt overly precious and too much like self-conscious attempts to impart a moral lesson or greater thought. At some points it edged uncomfortably close to Alchemist territory, which I know is not a negative for every ...more
Elizabeth
Aug 28, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Breathtaking. Beautiful. Brilliant. These are the some of the words that come to mind to describe the prose of Simon Van Booy. When Simon Van Booy writes, he imprints his images upon your heart and soul. The title story, "Love Begins in Winter," is one that will live on in my heart forever. This is the third book I have read by Van Booy. I am definitely a fan and look forward to reading more from him.
Brandon Shire
Wow, unexpectedly beautiful. HIGHLY recommended.
Samir
Jul 06, 2014 Samir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I began to love this book, even though winter is far away... Ironically, Bombay (Mumbai), the city I reside in, doesn't actually have an elaborate winter season. Winter here is similar to European summer. But love somehow manages to visit and leave me from time to time. Let me focus on the object of my literary love at the moment.


Love begins in Winter

In the book ‘Love begins in winter’, the season is a metaphor for the state of mind of its protagonists. Love finds two strangers in the midst of t
...more
Jessica
Jul 12, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stories-essays
It is impossible to read a book written by Simon van Booy without an arsenal of pens to underline all the beautiful sentences that he writes.
"I firmly believe that while lies and deception destroy love, they can also build and defend it. Love requires imagination more than experience."
I'm not a huge short story reader, but I bought this collection because I loved his novel Everything Beautiful Began After so, so much. I liked these stories, too, but there was an element of...preciousness, maybe
...more
Gerald Camp
Aug 03, 2011 Gerald Camp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book took me totally by surprise. I may just have discovered a new favorite author. I picked this up from the donations pile at our library's book sale department and decided to give it a try based on the blurbs on the back. I'm not usually a short story fan, but I took this book home and read it all the way through at a single sitting. Incredible use of language--sentences and paragraphs I wanted to remember forever--and plots structured more like mini-novels than typical short stories. I ...more
Liza
Aug 07, 2013 Liza rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the novel I read recently by Van Booy so I thought I would look into other books he wrote. I tried to read the first two stories in this five short story book and couldn't finish either. It just seems like he was trying to hard to be profound, around every third sentence. This book has a lot of positive reviews from others, but it's just not for me.
Doroti
Oct 23, 2014 Doroti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
…dreams are either unresolved conflicts or wish fulfilments.

The only authentic memories find us - like letters addressed to someone we used to be.

In my youth, all conflict was resolution—just a busier form of emptiness.

Actually, years mean nothing. It’s what’s inside them.

They will only ever be my parents once. They are the only parents I will ever have in the history of the universe.

I think all children are disappointed with their parents if they’re lucky enough to get so close.

Music helps us u
...more
Bitsy
Apr 27, 2010 Bitsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This turned out to be a wonderful collection of uplifting stories about love, forgiveness, romance, family and hope. Each short story contained a character that had either given up hope or was at a crossroads in their life and had to make a decision or take a leap of faith or sometimes just open their eyes to see the love that was all around them and in some cases had been all along. They were all written wonderfully, very literary and lyrical with wonderful twists and turns that were at once co ...more
Katie
Jun 13, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I almost wanted to give this 5 stars because it made me cry at least that many times and was just beautiful in so many places. However, there were a few moments where I felt the author was trying to hard too be profound and it just came across as uncomfortable and embarrassing. Usually those moments would make me put a book aside, but Van Booy made up for it with all these truly perfect lines.

The author has this really odd writing style. The entire book feels depressing, although every story sti
...more
Zoe
Jun 10, 2012 Zoe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Love Begins in Winter" is a touching story about the healing power of love.

The beginning is simply beautiful .

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.

I loved the authors writing style,and his way of taking the little specifics of character's lives by reveling slowly the significance and the hidden truth.Here’s Hannah describing her first meeting with Bruno:

From my pocket I took a large stone and set it squa
...more
Erica
This book has five stories--one of which I completely and totally loved, one of which I thought was boring, and three of which I liked. I wish I could give this 3.5 stars though, because even though it sounds like that evens out to "liked it," there was something special about it that put it beyond that. Simon Van Booy's writing style is definitely original and takes a bit of getting used to, but it can be very very beautiful.
Jonathan Rothman


Beautiful prose, somehow both poetic and spare. The stories don't attempt to function as miniature novels (which, in my experience, rarely succeeds). Instead they capture a small slice of life, connecting in an almost primal way to the pain, joy, and moments of unexpected beauty that make us human.
Foroogh
"Grief is a country where it rains and rains but nothing grows. The dead live somewhere else- wearing the clothes we remember them in."
Maggie Tiojakin
Sep 26, 2009 Maggie Tiojakin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great characters. Great settings. Great stories.
Emma
Jul 04, 2015 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i've seen short stories in every situation i was in since i began reading this collection
Robert
Jan 15, 2017 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quaint!
Syringa Smyrna
Apr 17, 2013 Syringa Smyrna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
" J'attends dans l'ombre.
Mon violoncelle est déjà sur scène. Il est né en 1723, quelque part en Sicile, sur une colline surplombant une mer sereine. Les cordes commencent à vibrer à l'approche de l'archet comme si elles pressentaient la venue d'un amant.
Je m'appelle Bruno Bonnet. Tout contre moi, un rideau couleur prune. D'un épais velours. Ma vie va commencer de l'autre côté. Mais il m'arrive de souhaiter qu'elle continue sans moi.
La lumière des projecteurs, ici à Québec, est presque trop viole
...more
Kim
Apr 29, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simon van Booy kende ik ook al, van The Secret Lives of People in Love. Ik denk, denk, dat ik zijn tweede bundel, Love Begins in Winter mooier vind. Maar, een heel klein beetje mooier maar. Ik ben internet zo enorm dankbaar, en al die boekenblogs in de wereld, want anders had ik Simon van Booy nooit leren kennen. Hij is nog niet vertaald in het Nederlands, en dat zal waarschijnlijk ook nog niet gebeuren, tenzij zijn Everything Beautiful Began After (zijn nieuwe boek, dat volgende week zal versch ...more
Hollis
Jan 01, 2017 Hollis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-author
although i still like illusion of separateness better, still loved
Derek Emerson
Nov 08, 2009 Derek Emerson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-books-read
Love Begins in Winter is a collection of five short stories written around the theme of love. Yes, love. In today's cynical world it is hard to find many talented writers who can celebrate love without making it sound like a bad Hallmark card. Van Booy not only succeeds, he excels. These are exquisitely written stories which show us a writer with the ability to see the many shades of love through a variety of fully drawn characters with a variety of experiences.

The title story is a short masterp
...more
Janet Swinney
Writer I'd not heard of before. Independent publisher. Five long stories. Thought I'd better give it a fair chance.
The writer is concerned with how things that happen in childhood are carried with us through the rest of our lives. Often they are weights that we have difficulty throwing off. All five stories are concerned with this theme. Even though the stories resolve on a positive note, they are filled with loss, grieving and nostalgia. For me, the three most successful were 'The City of Wind
...more
Cassie McCown
Jun 24, 2011 Cassie McCown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Begins in Winter
By: Simon Van Booy
ISBN: 9780061661471
Published May 5, 2009 by Harper Perennial
Available Format: Paperback, ebook

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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.

I was introduced to Si
...more
Jessica
Jun 02, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copy
I received this book for free from the publisher. All content and opinions are my own.

Simon Van Booy is likely to become on of my favorite writers. His prose is heavy with meaning and yet playful. Love Begins in Winter is a collection of five short stories that are all lyrical and well-wrought. The five stories are “Love Begins in Winter,” “Tiger, Tiger,” “The Missing Statues,” “The Coming and Going of Strangers,” and “The City of Windy Trees.”

My favorite story was “The Missing Statues,” which d
...more
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Creative Reviews: Review: Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy 1 5 Aug 19, 2011 03:06PM  
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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
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“Coincidences mean you're on the right path.” 214 likes
“He thinks I suffer from depression. But I’m just quiet. Solitude and depression are like swimming and drowning. In school many years ago, I learned that flowers sometimes unfold inside themselves.” 112 likes
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