This was one of the best books I've read in the past year, and I loved everything about it! Collection of absolutely beautiful and touching short stories: Van Booy uses provacative metaphors, intricate language, prose like poetry. His descriptions and use of imagery pulled me into a whirlwind of emotions where I found myself becoming connected to the characters involved. He has an ability as a writer to turn seemingly simple gestures and most excruciating tragedies into experiences and feelings that anybody can relate to instantly. Each chapter, even the happier stories, has tones of sadness, loneliness, pain... but the idea behind them all, whether it's loss or unity, comes back to love in all of it's forms. Wonderful book. I don't read short stories often because I typically prefer the character development that comes with a novel, but I would highly recommend Secret Lives to everyone!