Monday, July 11, 2011
My favorite story of the collection was, "Motley Black," which follows Jay, recently jilted and running from memory, as he leaves his home in San Francisco and travels by bus to Key West, where he hopes to begin the next chapter of his life. Anyone who has ever travelled by bus will appreciate the cast of well-drawn characters that Jay meets along the way, and it is obvious that Finan is writing from experience.
Others that scored points with me were the existentialist "Lucy di Sartoria," the obsessive "An Aria of Windrows," and the supernatural story, "The Other Side.". Overall, I found Finan's collection familiar and readable, with characters that elicit sympathy and make a connection with the reader. And I'm looking forward to more of Finan in the future.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
More than simply a painter of beautiful scenes, however, Van Booy is also a skilled professional. His prose is thoughtful and poetic as he describes Athens so vividly that the reader feels the dry heat of a noonday sun at the foot of the Acropolis. He cleverly plays with language, not just English, but Greek, French, Italian, and even Arabic, as a sometime reminder of how difficult it can be to communicate with one another, especially where the subject consists of our own pain. And though it takes some getting used to, the periodic use of the second person and the present tense allows the reader to share in the aimless wandering of Henry as he seeks some path by which to reenter the world that he once knew but has since lost forever.
Though it is sure to be enjoyed by the general public, in my opinion Everything Beautiful Began After is a must-read for anyone living abroad or with fond memories of having done so.