Love Begins In Winter

[openbook booknumber=”9780061661471″][rating:4/5]

On the verge of giving up – anchored to dreams that never came true and to people who have long since disappeared from their lives – Van Booy’s characters walk the streets of these stark and beautiful stories until chance meetings with strangers force them to face responsibility for lives they thought had continued on without them.

This turned out to be a wonderful collection of uplifting stories about love, forgiveness, romance, family and hope. Each short story contained a character that had either given up hope or was at a crossroads in their life and had to make a decision or take a leap of faith or sometimes just open their eyes to see the love that was all around them and in some cases had been all along. They were all written wonderfully, very literary and lyrical with wonderful twists and turns that were at once completely surprising and then after some thought completely expected.

My old geography professor once told his class how the music, paintings, sculptures, and books of the world are mirror in which people see versions of themselves.
-Love Begins in Winter

My favorite story in the collection would have to be the title piece “Love Begins in Winter”. It was about two people who had each experienced a great loss in their life and who had only been existing in the years since as they dealt with the blow of it. Only to find at the end of it that they were still alive, that there were others that understood them and that life still went on and they could go on with it.

The one I didn’t like, and the story that caused this book to lose a star, was the story “Tiger, Tiger”. Mainly about a woman who loved a man but found they wanted to be together but remain unmarried for a variety of reasons culminated in his parent’s failed marriage. The story talks about the work of a doctor who shared his experiences treating children who wanted to share their love with their parents in various forms of play. It also talks about how she plays by biting a boy she likes as a child so hard he bleeds and closes with her doing the same to her lover and causing him subsequently to drive off the road and into a ditch. I didn’t understand that one at all.

The rest of the stories were wonderful to read about and talked about the pain and pleasure of love of all sorts, familial, romantic and friendship. It talks about the pain of loss and unfaithfulness, about forgiveness and healing, and about making all sorts of relationships work across all sorts of different family combinations and situations in life. Life is messy, and this book doesn’t attempt to pretty it up and tie it with a nice little bow. It shows it for what it is and makes the love to be found there beautiful because of it.

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