Short Take: Tales of Accidental Genius – Simon Van Booy

Van Booy has long been championed by the Indies, who helped his last novel, The Illusion of Separateness, hit the bestseller lists. The San Francisco Chronicle aptly caught Van Booy’s appeal in its review of that book:

“The uncanny beauty of Van Booy’s prose, and his ability to knife straight to the depths of a character’s heart, fill a reader with wonder….There are so many wonderful sentences in this book, a reviewer groans for want of room to list them.”

In 2015 and 2016 we’ll be treated to two new books from Simon. The first is this collection of stories and the second will be a new novel in April 2016. Publicity for Tales of Accidental Genius kicks off The Diane Rehm Show on 11/12/15.

“A tenderhearted clutch of stories and fables that highlights interconnectedness between everyone from fashionistas to peasantry, ranging from Brooklyn to London to Beijing…. [In the novella that closes the book] a boy in Beijing named Weng watches his father labor over a mechanical device he’s invented to add speed to the tricycle he uses to make vegetable deliveries; when it proves to be a kind of perpetual motion machine that makes Weng fabulously rich, he’s forced to consider how he can use his newfound wealth to help others and deal with his heartache over the married woman he’s fallen for. The story is formatted like a poem, though it generally reads like prose, and the careful, softened language (“his heart like a kite on currents of breath”) and elemental plot support its billing as a satisfying fable. Van Booy clearly believes there are surprising new ways to write about love. Here, he proves he’s right, occasionally.”
Kirkus Reviews

Tales of Accidental Genius (9780062408976) by Simon Van Booy. $14.99 trade paper original. 11/10/15 on sale.

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