Everything Beautiful Began After
By Simon Van Booy
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061661488, 416pp.)
Publication Date: July 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Rebecca is young, lost, and beautiful. A gifted artist, she seeks solace and inspiration in the Mediterranean heat of Athenstrying 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 citys 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.
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.
- Which of the three storylines resonated with you the most? Why?
“A swift and engaging story...”
-Wall Street Journal
“His prose is music, and his characters are warmhearted, gentle, bemused, philosophical beings….It’s as if Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 30 has unfolded into a full-blown novel.”
-Austin Ratner, The East Hampton Star
“Van Booy’s writing rings with the proverbial pithiness of Oscar Wilde, the elegance of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the clarity of Graham Greene and the wit of Evelyn Waugh, conjuring a strong voice full of poetic, timeless grace of which much of the contemporary literary scene is starved.”
-San Francisco Examiner
“Van Booy’s writing seduces from the first page….He is a hugely gifted writer. More vitally, he has something to say.”
-Portland Press Herald
“There is...an integrity to [Van Booy’s] vision and a haunting element in his portrait of friendship and, ultimately, resolution.”
-Daily Mail (London)
“[T]he exquisite prose and heartbreaking (but never hopeless) emotional honesty make it a worthy read.”
“Vivid and meticulous...the floweriness of his prose is skillfully balanced by his short, precise sentences. Intriguing.”
“Atmospheric and anchored in its place. A book that is timeless but not rootless. Everything Beautiful Began After is highly sophisticated and absolutely sincere.”
“How lovely to encounter a grownup romantic in Simon Van Booy….[He] is a lovely writer, and Everything Beautiful Began After is a kind book.”
-Open Letters Monthly
“Beautifully written, touchingly told, Van Booy radiates pain, fears, love and freedom on every page of this 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.”
“If F. Scott Fitzgerald and Marguerite Duras had had a son, he would be Simon Van Booy; this is a truly special writer who does things with abstract language that is so evocative and original your breath literally catches in your chest. This is a novel you simply must read!”
-Andre Dubus III, New York Times bestselling author of Townie
“Already a new-generation master of the short story, Simon Van Booy has now emerged as a newly minted master of the novel as well….Van Booy is a writer whose work I will forever eagerly read.”
-Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
“Everything Beautiful Began After both creates and satisfies a feeling of wanderlust. Van Booy’s confident prose carries the reader over oceans and back again, into archaeological digs and airport hotels, and the romance at the center of the book stays vivid long after the story is through.”
-Emma Straub, author of Other People We Married