Review of Simon Van Booy’s collection of stories, The Sadness of Beautiful Things.
“O Lord, give us each our own death. Grant us
the dying that comes forth from that life in which
we knew love, grappled with meaning, felt need.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Hours
Simon Van Booy is a collector of stories, a distiller of them. He is the ear suctioned to the glass pressed against the door, the man scribbling on the back of matchbooks while seated in a hotel lobby, the sensual rover making his way through the patchwork euphony of voices in a diner. He is, in paraphrasing Anais Nin, a consummate spy in the house of love. Love, in all its splintered fragmentation, in all its rubbed shine, is always at the punchdrunk heart of Van Booy’s work, a dreamworn kernel in the grist of his tender elegies. His latest collection, The Sadness of Beautiful Things, inspired by true stories he was told during his travels, holds the power of love up to the light, in soft focus, while moving through a world of ache, sorrow and longing.
Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag.
His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.