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The characters in Simon Van Booy’s The Illusion of Separateness discover at their darkest moments of fear and isolation that they are not alone, that they were never alone, that every human being is a link in a chain we cannot see.
This gripping novel—inspired by true events—tells the interwoven stories of a deformed German infantryman, a lonely British film child on the brink of starvation, and a caretaker at a retirement home for actors in Santa Monica.
The same world moves under each of them, so that one by one, through seemingly random acts of selflessness, a veil is lifted to reveal the vital parts they have played in one another’s lives, and the illusion of their separateness.
‘Real life tastes plastic next to the words of Simon Van Booy.’
‘Simon Van Booy is an extraordinary writer.’
‘A beautifully written book.’
‘Van Booy writes with muted, unsentimental elegance about the impulses that bind us together.’
‘Touching…The elegance of Van Booy’s evocative prose has led to comparisons with F. Scott Fitzgerald; it’s some claim but one this little gem of a book completely justifies.’
‘Simon Van Booy’s reputation can only grow with this, his second novel…It tramps through the muddy fields and dark spirits of the Second World War, but it carries you with it effortlessly, leaving the reader with a rare feeling of lightness at the end.’
‘Each character is beautifully drawn, with a rich interior life, starkly different from one another in their experiences, yet each with a curious ache in their hearts. What emerges is a delicate, complex, moving novel, one to withstand – demand even – an instant second reading.’
‘Using restraint and a subtle dose of foreshadowing, Van Booy expertly entangles these disparate lives; but it’s what he leaves out that captures the imagination…the writing is what makes this remarkable book soar.’
‘A spare, elliptical story of human connection, framed by the horror of World War II…the story snaps together beautifully. A brilliant…novel that shows how a single act can echo through time; definitely recommended.’