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The Sadness of Beautiful Things: Stories by…
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The Sadness of Beautiful Things: Stories (edition 2018)

by Simon Van Booy (Author)

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An exquisite new collection of short stories from award-winning author Simon Van Booy.   Over the past decade, Simon Van Booy has been listening to people's stories. With these personal accounts as a starting point, he has crafted a powerful collection of short fiction that takes readers into the innermost lives of everyday people. From a family saved from ruin by a mysterious benefactor, to a downtrodden boxer who shows unexpected kindness to a mugger, these masterfully written tales reveal not only the precarious balance maintained between grief and happiness in our lives, but also how the echoes of personal tragedy can shape us for the better.   "Van Booy's stories are somehow like paintings the characters walk out of, and keep walking." --Los Angeles Times   "Simon Van Booy knows a great deal about the complex longings of the human heart." --Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain Audiobook Table of Contents: A Sacrifice, read by Alana Kerr Collins The Green Blanket, read by James Fouhey Playing with Dolls, read by Simon van Booy The Pigeon, read by Giordan Diaz The Hitchhiker, read by Alana Kerr Collins Not Dying, read by Darren Burrows The Saddest Case of True Love, read by Simon van Booy The Doorman, read by James Fouhey… (more)
Member:dominicecchini
Title:The Sadness of Beautiful Things: Stories
Authors:Simon Van Booy (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2018), 208 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Sadness of Beautiful Things: Stories by Simon Van Booy

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More lovely writing from Simon Van Booy. These eight stories are unconnected; an author's note says that "Most of the tales in this collection are based on true stories told to me over the course of my travels." My guess is that "Playing With Dolls" is the exception, as it is futuristic (it reminded me a little of the YA novel The Adoration of Jenna Fox in its premise). The others are varied in setting and character. The first story, "The Sacrifice," is set mostly in Ireland and I was a little startled at its ending; I wanted more. All of the other stories seemed complete no matter their length. I especially liked "The Pigeon," about a fighter who takes a different approach when he is threatened at knifepoint, and "The Doorman," in which one person connects another two people, rather in the manner that people are connected in The Illusion of Separateness.

From "The Green Blanket"
"The quality of a person's life in old age often depends on how they see things that happened to them as children." (31)

From "Playing With Dolls"
Her mother stroked the girl's forehead, feeling that inside every child is someone very small and without language; a stowaway from long ago. (46)

From "Not Dying"
Religion preys on the weak. It is born through fear. To be saved you must give up hope in anything else. Freedom through servitude. (108)

Love was just something tiny and bright with eternity on all sides. (122) ( )
  JennyArch | Dec 26, 2018 |
So I did my new short story test. Waited s few days after finishing, looked at the table on contents to see how many I remembered. These were pretty darn good and I remembered them all. Of course there were only eight, and one was quite long, but still.

Loss and loneliness, ordinary people dealing with extraordinary events, are the commonalities they share. Well except for one which was more on the scyfy side, Playing with dolls, which had a novel take on loss, quite a strange one. Although many have a sadness within, the resolutions often contain something both unexpected and beautiful. Or maybe something bad made beautiful. The writing is spare, but lyrical in places. The stories quite complete in themselves and the characters well portrayed.

My favorite, if I had to choose, would be the last one, The Doorman, featuring a blind girl, a well known horn player and of course, a doorman. It was written with a great deal of empathy and tenderness. Something about it just pulled me in. A grand collection. ( )
  Beamis12 | Nov 13, 2018 |
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An exquisite new collection of short stories from award-winning author Simon Van Booy.   Over the past decade, Simon Van Booy has been listening to people's stories. With these personal accounts as a starting point, he has crafted a powerful collection of short fiction that takes readers into the innermost lives of everyday people. From a family saved from ruin by a mysterious benefactor, to a downtrodden boxer who shows unexpected kindness to a mugger, these masterfully written tales reveal not only the precarious balance maintained between grief and happiness in our lives, but also how the echoes of personal tragedy can shape us for the better.   "Van Booy's stories are somehow like paintings the characters walk out of, and keep walking." --Los Angeles Times   "Simon Van Booy knows a great deal about the complex longings of the human heart." --Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain Audiobook Table of Contents: A Sacrifice, read by Alana Kerr Collins The Green Blanket, read by James Fouhey Playing with Dolls, read by Simon van Booy The Pigeon, read by Giordan Diaz The Hitchhiker, read by Alana Kerr Collins Not Dying, read by Darren Burrows The Saddest Case of True Love, read by Simon van Booy The Doorman, read by James Fouhey

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