Title: ‘As Much Below as Up Above’ by Simon Van Booy
Collection/Anthology?: The Secret Lives of People in Love (Beautiful Books)
Date Read: 24 August 2010
Briefly: The narrator sits on a New York beach; half on the sand, and half on a foam bodyboard. He’s middle-aged, overweight and Russian, and he has a fear of venturing out into the water. Gradually he reveals his reasons for being scared, and they’re just as much to do with guilt as they are to do with fear.
Afterthoughts: Once again Van Booy has shown himself to be the undisputed master when it comes to exploring the human reaction to love and loss. It’s also a story that explores in exquisite detail – or as much as a short story can explore ‘exquisite detail’ – the pain associated with living with demons of the past, and the need to comes to terms them. It’s powerful stuff as I’m sure you can imagine, and it’s one of these stories that frequently crops up in your mind again, once you’ve read it.
This story was read as part of a review of Simon Van Booy’s collection, The Secret Lives of People in Love. If you want to find out more about this collection then I invite you to either swing by my ‘forethoughts’ post, or to visit the product page on the publisher’s website; The Secret Lives of People in Love is published in the UK by Beautiful Books, and in the US by Harper Perennial.