Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy

Every person in the world carries a long and varied history shaped by experience and environment but also briefly touched by strangers and their actions. So many things shape us and we don't even realize them all. None of us is an island, we are all connected whether we ever know it or not. Simon Van Booy's spare, exquisite novel, The Illusion of Separateness, disproves the very idea of people alone, showing how we are all affected by each other, tied together by the invisible bonds of humanity.

Written in short intertwining vignettes, Van Booy's novel is stunning in its simplicity. Opening in 2010 in Los Angeles with Martin working at the Starlight Retirement Home and reaching back into his unknowable past as a baby orphaned in wartime and ultimately adopted by a French couple. As the home prepares for a new resident, Mr. Hugo from England, disfigured by the war, the novel spirals backwards and forwards telling the stories of a seemingly disparate group of people from WWII, into the present, and back again, connecting them together by the most gossamer of threads, tying their actions and their lives together forever.

There's a lonely Hollywood filmmaker, a schoolboy in France, a young pilot getting ready to ship out to the war, a blind woman preparing an exhibit from the war years, and all of the people who played a part, no matter how small, in their lives. This is a gorgeous meditation on the interconnectedness of the world and the people in it. And it takes as its lynchpin one intentional and fleeting but momentous act of humanity to highlight the otherwise small and important moments that reverberate throughout the characters' lives, past, present, and future. The Illusion of Separateness is a beautifully written, character driven novel, subtle and moving, truly masterful in its intimate scope.

For more information about Simon Van Booy and the book, check out his website, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter. Follow the rest of the blog tour or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.


  1. You have me completely intrigued about that one lynchpin moment ... I can't wait to read this one!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  2. I've heard nothing but good things about this book. I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy!


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