Synopses & Reviews
Rebecca is young, lost, and beautiful. A gifted artist, she seeks solace and inspiration in the Mediterranean heat of Athens — trying to understand who she is and how she can love without fear.
George has come to Athens to learn ancient languages after growing up in New England boarding schools and Ivy League colleges. He has no close relationships with anyone and spends his days hunched over books or wandering the city in a drunken stupor.
Henry is in Athens to dig. An accomplished young archaeologist, he devotedly uncovers the city's past as a way to escape his own, which holds a secret that not even his doting parents can talk about.
...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.
"Van Booy, a Frank O'Connor International Short Story award winner (for Love Begins in Winter), offers a tender, earnest first novel, in which flight attendant Rebecca Baptiste moves to Athens, Greece, where she meets George Cavendish, an American with a passion for languages and drinking. Their romance blooms quickly, but when Rebecca falls for a Welsh archeologist named Henry, George drinks so much that he stumbles in front of a car — Henry's car. Without knowing what they share, Henry tends to George's injuries, cementing an immediate and long-lasting alliance. But some time later, George sees Rebecca with Henry, and the shock of recognition leaves these three sensitive souls shaken, snapping George into sobriety and sending Henry adrift. When Henry finally returns two years later, after a devastating earthquake, both he and Athens have changed dramatically. Finally, his discovery of a journal that may have belonged to Rebecca makes him wonder how well he knew her. The rhythms of Henry's tender, damaged heart propel the narrative, and Van Booy wisely resists romanticizing torment, instead suggesting that grief tied as it is to fate and faith — can give way to promise. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A powerful meditation on the undying nature of love and the often cruel beauty of one's own fate. This is a novel you simply must read!" Andre Dubus III, New York Times bestselling author of Townie
From Simon Van Booy, the award-winning author of Love Begins in Winter, and The Secret Lives of People in Love, comes a debut novel of longing and discovery amidst the ruins of Athens. With echoes of Nicole Krauss's The History of Love and Charles Baxter's The Feast of Love, Van Booy's resonant tale of three isolated, disaffected adults discovering one another in Greece is the compelling product of an inquisitive, visionary talent. In the words of Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, "Simon Van Booy knows a great deal about the complex longings of the human heart."
About the Author
Simon Van Booy grew up in rural Wales. He is the author of The Secret Lives of People in Love and Love Begins in Winter, which won the Frank OConnor International Short Story Award. He is the editor of three philosophy books, titled Why We Fight, Why We Need Love, and Why Our Decisions Dont Matter, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Guardian, and on NPR. He lives in New York City, where he teaches at the School of Visual Arts and is involved in the Rutgers Early College Humanities program for young adults living in underserved communities. He was a finalist for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, and his work has been translated into thirteen different languages.