Monday, August 1, 2011

Everything Beautiful Began After: A Novel by Simon Van Booy

From book flap:

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.

My Thoughts:

I'm in love with this book.  I want to keep this book in my handbag all the time, so that I can re-read it and memorize passages from it and quote it to my friends and loved ones (which sounds annoying, but I just feel like the words that Simon Van Booy has written need to be heard).  I don't think I've encountered a book that has left me feeling this way, since I read Jean Rhys', After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie (just so you know, it left me awestruck).  And so, I now realize that I must read everything Simon Van Booy has written, because I've been missing out. 

As for this particular story, its about three lost souls, who move to Athens in the hopes of escaping secrets from their past.  Along the way the stumble into each other's paths and soon find themselves working together at an archaeological dig.  Confusion and tension abound at first, when it comes to light that George is in love with Rebecca, who is now involved with Henry (who happens to be George's new best friend).  Awkward love triangle? Nope.  Not for this unlikely trio, who somehow manage to push past all the uncomfortable feelings and form a deep bond of friendship.  Its almost unreal how these intense and intimate connections appear to blossom so quickly, but somehow Van Booy makes it all work.  And then tragedy strikes and you are soon mired deep in a sadness and despair so heartbreakingly real that you can't help but shed tear after tear as you read on. 

Simon Van Booy has written a wonderfully rich novel that will leave you more than satisfied.  It will remind you just how good literature can be.  Now, I've purposely didn't delve any deeper into what happens within the novel, because you have to read it for yourself, ASAP!!  Suffice it to say that themes of love, loss, sadness and friendship are explored through three unforgettable characters' journeys to self-discovery.  You will not be disappointed!
Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book.


Mrs. Fry said...

Wow! I just finished this book. I really liked it too. I didn't love the part where Henry was wandering off for two years, but I loved how each chapter ended with something beautifully written.

It was very enjoyable.

Funny, that we read it within days of each other.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

It's amazing how NO ONE doesn't love this! I'm reserving it right now! :--)

Nadia said...

Brenda, I'll have to check out your review of it - I'm behind on my book blog reading. I loved during the letters and faxes that Henry and George wrote one another - made that part interesting. It was definitely an enjoyable read! And that is funny that we read the book within days of each other - great minds think alike!

rhapsodyinbooks, I know! Its crazy that this book has been so well received by everyone - I'm usually the odd one out who doesn't like the latest book craze. But this time, I was just taken in completely - the book is terrific!

Joan Hunter Dunn said...

Your review has made me leave the sofa, with a cup of tea, and find my pen and notebook to write down the name of this book. Maybe one to read in the depths of winter?

nomadreader said...

The reviews of this one are continuously amazing. I'm really looking forward to reading it soon myself!

Nadia said...

Joan, I'm glad you wrote down the title, because you will be happy you did when you are looking for new books to read and you remember this one. And yes, reading it in winter with a nice cup of tea is how it should be read - had I known, I would have saved it for winter.

nomadreader, I know. Its like this book can do no wrong in anyone's eyes - crazy! Can't wait to find out what you think of it!

Anonymous said...

What a rave review! This one sounds absolutely amazing.

Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

Nadia said...

heathertlc, thanks! And the fact is that this book was amazing! Thank you for letting me participate and thereby introducing me to Simon Van Booy's wonderful work!

bermudaonion said...

I can't wait to experience Van Booy's writing for myself.

Nadia said...

bermudaonion, you will not be disappointed ;)

vintch said...

so, so good to find your blog. one of my new year's resolutions was to read more. as an english major, i just got burnt out, but now that i've been out for a while, it's going to be so nice to dive back in! i'll be checking in often for your opinions and reviews:)

Amy said...

I'm happy to hear you loved this one so much. I'm looking forward to reading it myself.

Erica said...

I'm looking forward to reading it soon myself!

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Lisa said...

Oh, I knew I should have jumped on this one. Now I'll just have to look for it in the bookstore. Glad to hear you liked it so much.

Nadia said...

vintch, glad you found my blog then :) by the by, I was an english major, too and I know what you mean about getting burnt out - I did, too (mainly with the classics and literary theory). Of course now, I'm a reading machine - LOL!

Amy, it is soooo good! You will love it!

Erica, it is one of my favorite reads! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did ;)

Lisa, I know what you mean. That happens to me, too! I say no to a book and then wind up reading about how great it was and wonder why I passed on it. UGH! Oh well, this one is worth a trip to the bookstore :)

B said...

I've had my eye on this one for awhile. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it so much!

Nadia said...

Brenna, you will love it! It is sooo good! The writing is excellent!