Everything Beautiful Began After

Friday, September 2, 2011


Everything Beautiful Began After
by Simon Van Booy
★★★★☆

The paths of three strangers cross while they are living in Athens. First there’s Rebecca, an artist and former stewardess. Then there’s George, a student of ancient languages who has fallen for Rebecca, but can’t stop drinking. Finally we have Henry, an archeologist who is haunted by the guilt of his past.

Reading this book is like walking into a dream. I was immediately swept away by the beauty of Athens and intoxicating love of the characters. That same enchanting fog makes it a bit hard to find your footing at first, but once you do, hang on, because just when you think you see how the story is going to unfold, the floor falls out from beneath you.

The language in the book is just beautiful. I didn’t realize it until I’d finished it, that this is the author’s first novel. Yet despite that fact, he managed to craft a story that weaves threads of hope, despair, passion, grief and friendship so seamlessly that you’d swear he’s been doing it for decades.

This is one of those books that is impossible to talk about in detail without giving away important plot points. So instead, let me leave you with a few things.

First, I’m so glad I read this. It just felt profound and so very human.

Secondly, visit the Literate Housewife to read her lovely words about the book.

And finally, the book is filled with so many beautiful lines, here are just a few of my favorites…

"The ability to love Athens, like all love, lies not in the city but in the visitor."

"The love of a man is like a drop of color into something clear."

"Fate is for the broken, the selfish, the simple, the lost, and the forever lonely, a distant light that comes no closer, nor ever completely disappears."

Review eGalley provided by NetGalley

12 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This sounds like a terrific book. I loved your review. I have it on my Kindle, but have not had a chance to read it yet.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Oh yes, I remember Jen's love affair with this book. When I head up to Boston next Friday, I am missing the author's appearance up there by one day! Ack! Looks like I'm going to have to get my hands on this book.

Jenners said...

Sounds amazing. And how exciting to "discover" a talented writer's debut book!!!

Jillian said...

Love this review! Thanks; I am going to put this on hold as soon as possible! It sounds wonderful.

April (Books&Wine) said...

I've heard a lot of praise for Simon Van Booy and also for the audiobook of Everything Beautiful Began After, and love the quote you have posted about Fate. I'm not sure I agree with it, but the language is lovely and for me, language does matter in what I read.

Great review, I am so totally adding Van Booy's work to my TBR!!

wordsandpeace said...

I read a very harsh critic of this book, on Goodreads or amazon I forgot, so I'm glad there are people out there who do love it as much as I did.
Here's my review, with also a few excerpts:
http://wordsandpeace.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/review-62-everything-beautiful-began-after/
Emma @ Words And Peace

nomadreader said...

I am really looking forward to this one and need to make time to read it. I love Athens, and everyone seems to rave about the writing itself. An amazing location and beautiful writing are usually enough for me:-)

Julia said...

I've been wondering whether to read this book - so glad to have it preveiwed by a trusted reader!

Bybee said...

gorgeous prose!

Jeanne said...

This one does sound amazing.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Diane - I read it on my Kindle too.

Sandy - One day! That's so frustrating.

Jenners - There are so many authors I love or have always wanted to try, it's hard for me to try one I've never heard of. It feel like such a gamble.

Jillian - It was beautiful!

April - In the context the fate quote rang true. It was in reference to a mother leaving her kids and saying it wasn't her "fate" to raise them. She was using fate as an excuse to make the decisions she wanted.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

wordsandpeace - I haven't read any harsh reviews yet, but your's was wonderful! Books are so personal, there is always someone who hates whatever book I love.

nomadreader - It's definitely one to savor, not rush through.

Julia - Thanks, I hope you enjoy it if you read it.