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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Book Review: "The Illusion of Separateness" by Simon Van Booy

Simon Van Booy’s latest novel explores the intricate ways in which human beings are connected across history.

From an elderly caretaker at an old people’s home, to a deformed war veteran, a modern day movie director, a pair of newlyweds separated by war, a young blind museum director, and a starving child left to die, Van Booy’s characters come from different walks of life. While they are all plagued by different types of longing, the story is also about the endurance of friendship, mercy, and love.

With brief chapters which chronicle apparently disconnected aspects of the character’s lives, it is the reader who comes to realise the ties which bind them, as more and more links are revealed.

Van Booy’s writing has the simple profound skill of writers such as Alan Lightman, and his prose is light but rich with meaning. Each and every word has its place and one cannot help by marvel at the way his short sentences convey so much. It’s unsurprising to learn that the author is also the editor of three philosophy books, as his own fiction delves into the connectedness of human experience.

Each character is well-drawn, and it’s amazing that in such a short book, Van Booy is able to make the reader feel they know each person intimately. A tea cup by the bed tells of a man missing his wife beyond words, while an absent comment from a lover throws a man’s whole history into sharp perspective. These images will stay with you long after you close the final page.

This review was first published on the Literature Works website.

Buy the book: Illusion of Separateness
Buy for kindle: The Illusion of Separateness

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