Title: ‘French Artist Killed in Sunday’s Earthquake’ by Simon Van Booy
Collection/Anthology?: The Secret Lives of People in Love (Beautiful Books)
Date Read: 14 September 2010
Briefly: Following an earthquake, Marie-Francoise lies buried deep in the rubble. Crushed and with no hope of survival, the short life of the young artist plays before her, as she bears witness to Death tightening its icy grip.
Afterthoughts: Just when I think Van Booy can’t touch me any more profoundly, he comes along and plunges another story even deeper into my heart. This may be the shortest piece of fiction I’ve read so far from Van Booy but it’s also one of the most powerful. If it were not sorrowful enough to witness the final moments of a person’ life – a person taken so young and so unfairly – then to have those final moments described by Van Booy is akin to having your weeping heart torn out of your chest, and to stand watching while it’s ripped into pieces before you. Definitely one of the most pitiful and sombre stories that I’ve ever read, and I mean EVER!
*[and if you don’t have the collection that this story comes from, then thanks to Cal Morgan and the excellent Fifty-Two Stories website, you can have the heartbreak and the extraordinary experience that comes from reading the story, yourself, for free]
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.