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.
Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy is a remarkable story about love, sympathy, and the search for truth. Van Booy crafts a captivating story, set in Athens, of Rebecca, who seeks to find her person within, of George, who is a bit of an intellectual yet carries with him a vice or two, and of Henry, who has one important, yet very deep secret that holds him back from expressing truth in his feelings. Readers will get to know these characters well by means of observation through the author’s prose. Van Booy lets readers get to know his characters by their actions and dialogue as opposed to direct character descriptions. I found this approach to be a refreshing change and a rather unique attribute to Van Booy’s style in this novel. The summer in which these three characters meet up, that is, the “after” from which everything beautiful began sets the stage for how each character develops friendships with the other two during this chance encounter. Van Booy’s stylish writing is what made this book so intriguing to me and I think book discussion groups looking for topics about failure, secrets, loss, and the understanding that comes from acceptance of the past will find Everything Beautiful Began After to be an excellent choice.
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 O’Connor International Short Story Award. He is the editor of three philosophy books, titled Why We Fight, Why We Need Love, and Why Our Decisions Don’t 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.
To learn more about author Simon Van Booy, please visit his website.
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I received a copy of Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.