After a heavy diet of nonfiction I found myself in the mood for a little fiction. Specifically, I was craving something around 200 pages, like Matthew Olshan’s Marshlands, Vendela Vida’s The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty or Jennifer Clement’s Prayers for the Stolen, novels I have fond memories of reading during the early evening hours of summer. Luckily for me, one of the books I picked up last month at a friends of the library book sale was Simon Van Booy’s 2013 novel The Illusion of Separateness. Just a shade over 200 pages, it’s just what I needed.
I enjoyed The Illusion of Separateness not because it’s short but because it’s good. Utilizing a minimalist approach Van Booy weaves together a beautifully interrelated tale stretching 70 years and two contitents involving a host of diverse characters including a blind museum docent, biracial Hollywood director, disfigured German WWII veteran and nursing home superintendent. Each one is profoundly linked in someway to the other, even if by a single act of kindness.
After finishing The Illusion of Separateness earlier today I’d like to read more of Van Booy’s fiction. But right now I just wanna lose myself within the pages of another excellent short novel.