Tales of Accidental Genius, by Simon Van Booy

I'll be honest: If I had flipped through this book before picking it up, I probably would not have read it. The second half of this short story collection is more of a long series of interconnected poems. It's beautiful, and I'm glad I did read it, but it's not really my cup of tea.

Van Booy's stories are slices of life; we dip into a moment and quickly dip out. Except for the last piece, which spans a man's lifetime, and reads more like a parable than a story. I have no real criticism of this book, but also must say that it pales in comparison to the short stories of Anthony Doerr, which I reviewed a month or so ago. I very much enjoyed the first two, which are about the kindness of strangers, while the others were interesting but not as engaging. I do appreciate Van Booy's originality in "Golden Helper II," the last story, with its unconventional structure and almost epic song-like cadence. I just doubt I would have been interested in reading more than the 150 pages it covered.


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