Love Begins in Winter
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Love Begins in Winter

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  698 ratings  ·  110 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 January 1st 2009)
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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
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

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
Brandon Shire
Wow, unexpectedly beautiful. HIGHLY recommended.
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
Michael Davis
Simon Van Booy's 'Love Begins in Winter' occupies that beautiful, strange, dreamlike realm between realism and romanticism, never foraying too strongly into the unbelievable and yet meditating on the beauty that reverberates from an unseen plane. Characters with certain personality flaws borne of traumatic experiences are all nonetheless burning with the primal, raw power of the heart.

Van Booy writes for the awakening soul -- not the earthbound, the docile, nor for the folks who know themselves...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
Gerald Camp
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
"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
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
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
Jessica Jeffers
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
Denis A.
This is the second of Mr. Van Booy's books I've read in a short span so I can call myself one of his fans. I am intrigued how he packs each sentence with such meaning. I often found myself having to pause mid-sentence in order to take in some profound reflection. Of the five short stories, my favorite part was when Van Booy discusses the lost innocence of childhood:

"It's true the people we meet shape us. But the people we don't meet shape us also, often more because we have imagined them so vivi...more
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.
Brittany Rivera
I think it would be easy to call Van Booy's writing pretentious, but it would also be lazy. This book of short stories is magical and captivating while also using extremely grandiose figures of speech. The story that gives this book its title "Love Begins in Winter" was by far my favorite; a beautifully slow building and sad tale about finding love. The other 4 stories never quite reached the height of the first. In order I would rank the stories:
1. "Love Begins in Winter"
2."The Comings and Goin...more
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.
Cassie McCown
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
Cheryl Klein
The title story in this collection feels like a Nicholas Sparks novel for middle-aged women who subscribe to the New Yorker. (I say this as an almost-middle-aged woman who subscribes to the New Yorker.) It's dripping with sentences that seem written solely for the purpose of making the reader swoon at their profundity, but which actually mean nothing, or something really obvious. The plot: Two people who've lost someone meet cute and fall in love at first sight and say things like "Stones are re...more
As I may have stated before, this IS one of the best books I have ever let my eyes fall upon and my mind and soul into. It is very simply human (because when you come down to it, we are simple creatures, with complexity weaved into us by living life), and it's simple-ness is what makes it beautiful and real, but Van Booy writes in such a way as to wrap the readers heart around his characters and their small, yet huge lives.

I am a pretty strong believer in not bending pages in books, but after r...more
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
Derek Emerson
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
Syringa Smyrna
" 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
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
Natalie Pezzenti
Poignant and true, honest and simple. Love Begins in Winter was simply divine. Each story connected and reconnected those who were separated or still searching for their other half. Van Booy's writing style was exactly what I needed, and each time I finished one story I couldn't wait to go onto the next. With quotes like, "The most significant conversations of our lives occur in silence," and "One's life is nothing more than a string of moments. Each life is like a string of pearls," it's easy t...more
Another random grab from the library shelves.

I'm not sure exactly what to rate this book or exactly what I should rate. The writing is beautiful. I explained to a friend that it is like watching an indie film that is low-budget and uses complex language. The words being said sound so beautiful and profound, but when you actually think about what was said, you realize that it didn't really make sense. That's how I felt after the first story.

The second story and on had more "simple" language, I...more
I don't remember how I came upon Simon Van Booy's first collection of stories, but I loved it and I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of this book. Perhaps this is a recipe for disappointment, because I was indeed disappointed, especially by the first story of this collection. This collection is of fewer, longer stories than his first. The writing is again beautiful, lyrical, but not overdone to my taste, but the stories themselves feel heavier and over-crafted. Also, there was this editing o...more
“I read books because I love them, not because I think I should read them.” -Simon Van Booy

It is a rare thing for me to write or underling books that I’m not reading academically but there were so many beautiful, poetic, truthful lines in this book that I couldn’t not. Initially Van Booy seems the typical literary fiction writer that critics and intellectual elitists adore. Alas, it doesn’t take long to figure out all the beautifully poetic yet uncomplicated prose makes his work very accessible...more
Jen Squire
Jan 17, 2014 Jen Squire is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Simon van Booy will now be innsbruck for me. I had planned on starting this on the plane, but sat next to a fabulous and funny couple, and was so enthralled with our conversation. I barely had time to finish my Prosecco before we were preparing to land. A couple of hours later I was on a stool at a bar in Innsbruck, and started Love Begins In Winter. Somehow I managed to marvel at the work as well as find myself back writing, in parallel.

I love that there is no limit to literary marvel, and SvB...more
This short story surprised me. It is a beautifully crafted piece of art, and the author's perspective on life, love, grief and such is quite different than the approaches I've seen or read before - it is wonderful. I highly recommend it, and I look forward to read more of his works.
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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
More about Simon Van Booy...
Everything Beautiful Began After The Illusion of Separateness The Secret Lives of People in Love Why Our Decisions Don't Matter The Coming and Going of Strangers

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“Coincidences mean you're on the right path.” 141 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.” 93 likes
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