Guide Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories

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His work has been translated into fourteen languages. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter. Skip to main content. We're hiring! Check "Employment" under "About Us". When the chair arrives at the concert hall a day or so before a performance, a frantic music director will call with bad news: 'my chair has been utterly ruined in transit. One day I will play without my instrument. I will sit up straight and not move.


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I will close my eyes and imagine life taking place in the houses outside the concert hall: steaming pots stirred by women in slippers; teenagers in their rooms wearing headphones; somebody's son looking for his keys; a divorcee brushing her teeth as her cat stares; a family watching television—the youngest is asleep but will not remember his dream. If only one of them recognized me, I could slip from the branches of my life, brush time from my clothes and begin the long journey across the fields to the place where I first disappeared. A boy leaning crookedly on a gate, waiting for his best friend to get up.

The back wheel of Anna's bicycle still spinning. For ten years as a professional cellist I have been raising the dead in concert halls across the world. The moment my bow makes contact with the strings—Anna's form appears. She is wearing the clothes from that day.

I am twenty years older. But she is still a child. She flickers because she is made of light.

Love Begins in Winter : Five Stories [Paperback]

She watches a few feet from my cello. She looks at me, but doesn't recognize who I am. Tonight the concert hall is packed. By the end of the final movement I can sense her fading. Perhaps a single hand remains; a scoop of shoulder; a shimmering mane of hair. Some concert performers turn their backs to the figures that float upon the stage; figures that move with the confusion of sleep, with the grace of unfurling smoke, figures conjured by guilt, love, regret, luck and happenstance.

Five Stories

Some performers I've read about can't take their eyes off them. Some crack and fling themselves off bridges; others drink themselves into oblivion or stand in freezing rivers at midnight. I think music is what language once aspired to be. Music allows us to face God on our own terms because it reaches beyond life. The muscles in my bowing arm tighten. The final notes are sonorous; I steady my bow like an oar held in a river; steering us all toward the bank of now and tomorrow and the day after that.

Days ahead like open fields.

Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy: review

And night pools outside the concert hall. The city is still wet. The concert hall is glassed-in and overlooks a garden.


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Eyes of rain dot the windows and shiver with each breath of wind. Stars fill the sky then drop to flood the streets and the squares. When it rains, even the most insignificant puddle is a map of the universe. When the performance ends I stand and raise my bow to the audience.

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I can hear things landing on the stage—flowers and small letters taped to the plastic. In "The Coming and Going of Strangers," do you agree with Walter's understanding of only experiencing one pure first love?

An evening with Simon Van Booy | McNally Jackson Books

What does this contribute to your discovery that Walter ends up marrying Jane? Also in "The Coming and Going of Strangers," why do you think the farmer stopped to pick up Walter's father and the child?

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Was it because he was in World War II? Do you think George did the right thing by going to see his unknown daughter Lotta, in Sweden? What would you have done? In George's letter to his sister Helen, he writes "I regret things I haven't done—rather than things I have—strange eh? Do you feel the same about your life? In "The City of Windy Trees," all the adults work together to make a child's life happy.

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Is this true for other children in the book? Would you agree with the idea that children are the most important characters in Van Booy's fiction? When Lotta and George are ice skating in "The City of Windy Tress", George breaks away "to skate clumsily but without falling over" What type of metaphor for parenting is this?