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Everything Beautiful Began After
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Everything Beautiful - Mar 2012 > Everything Beautiful Began After - Mar 2012

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World Literature Today (worldlittoday) | 9 comments Mod
Join us in reading Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy!

"...And then, with a series of chance meetings, Rebecca, George, and Henry are suddenly in flight, their lives brighter and clearer than ever, as they fall headlong into a summer that will forever define them in the decades to come."

Praise for the book:
“A tender, earnest first novel....Van Booy wisely resists romanticizing torment, instead suggesting that grief -- tied as it is to fate and faith -- can give awy to promise.”
-Publishers Weekly

“Vivid and meticulous...the floweriness of his prose is skillfully balanced by his short, precise sentences. Intriguing.”
-Metro (London)

About the author:
Simon Van Booy was born in Great Britain and grew up in rural Wales. He is the author of The Secret Lives of People in Love, Love Begins in Winter (winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award) and the novel, Everything Beautiful Began After....He was a finalist for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, and his work has been translated into thirteen languages.

Michelle | 1 comments I really loved this book and look forward to reading more of Simon Van Booy's work. George is such a tender character, and the friendship between George and Henry could alone carry the novel, but there is so much more.

Kaitlin (k_hawkins) | 5 comments I really liked this book! I'm not one to read books about romantic relationships, but this one definitely hooked my curiosity and wouldn't let go. Once I reached the second 'book' in the novel, I literally couldn't stop reading, and finished in just under two days. Van Booy's language is so rich with emotion, and there were so many beautiful sentences that I wanted to remember!

Erika Robuck | 1 comments As soon as I started reading, I knew I would love this book. The prose has the richness and depth of poetry, and the unique way Van Booy presents the plot and the passage of time kept me turning pages long into the night. I can't wait to read more from this author.

Ellie (elliearcher) I felt the same way-an immediate connection to the book. I've read more Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories and Why Our Decisions Don't Matter) and really liked them to but Everything Beautiful Began After: A Novel remains my favorite. So romantic-the prose is a perfect match for the subject.

Carita | 1 comments I gave Everything Beautiful Began After three and a half stars. It was an easy read and I enjoyed it, though not as much as Simon van Booy's short stories. The novel wowed me with its poetic phrases, yet left me a bit disappointed in the end.

I've always been impressed by Van Booy's skills with language; he can spin words into beautiful visions, conveying much with a few simple phrases. He knows how to evoke the senses, which I admire in a writer. He does a great job at bringing to life the locations, painting Athens in vivid color, and his characters are pleasant to digest. And I appreciate that his stories almost always remind me about the necessity of compassion.

But I wished that the novel would have gotten a bit heavier at times, just in the way it was written. Van Booy's language is so lovely, it's like pretty lace on a page. It works wonderfully in short stories, but in a novel I like a bit more heft, a bit more gray even. As graceful as the book was (and it was very graceful) I felt that the it gave and gave and gave, one beautifully written page after another, one flood of emotion after another... but I wanted it to demand something of me as well, and it just didn't. I'd be curious to know if anybody else experienced the same?

And did anybody else find it a bit... well, too syrupy at times? Though I can't bring any specific instance in mind right now, I do remember feeling that the story would have benefited from a little restraint on the author's part. I felt that the romance was a bit heavy-handed at times. Too much was said where less would have been plenty.

I've heard some people complaining about the narrative switch into the second person "you" (in Books Two and Three), but I didn't mind it that much. Even though it's a bit clumsy, bordering on literary trickery, I could accept it as means of conveying Henry's state of mind at that point, his distance from everything, especially himself. I'd be interested in hearing how others reacted to the switch. Did you find it off-putting or was it easy to take it in stride?

Kaitlin (k_hawkins) | 5 comments Carita -- I agree with your comments about the novels being 'syrupy' at times. Like I said in my post, I don't really do novels with a lot of romance in them, so I almost automatically feel that anything with an extended romantic relationship with two characters can be too much. But, yes, sometimes it was even more than that.

I also agree that the switch to the second person was slightly strange. I fumbled through the first few pages trying to figure out who exactly 'I' was, but once I figured it out, it was pretty easy from there. I do think, though, that some of those passages are confusing on an intellectual level. I didn't really know what was happening -- whether Henry was actually committing suicide or just vividly dreaming about it. (The imagination made itself obvious in the end, of course, but while reading that particular part, I really felt that I had been thrown for a loop.)

Magdalena | 1 comments Incredibly well written book. One of my favorite in the last decade. This is my first encounter with S. Van Booy's literature. So looking forward to read his short stories.

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