A few months ago the bookstore received and Advance Readers Copy of Simon Van Booy’s newest book, The Illusion of Separateness. Fights broke out among several booksellers and, by some miracle, I was the second bookseller to get ahold of it (I swear I never threw a single punch). I read it in one sitting, as many of us did, not only because I couldn’t put it down, but because putting it down mid-story, thus disrupting the flow, would have been a crime. A terrible, unspeakable crime.
Illusion of Separateness is an intimate look at the tiny choices that connect us all. Readers get the story of multiple characters that are all seemingly connected in the present day through events that began during the Second World War. Each chapter is written with a different voice, telling the story of a fully-realized character that you can't help but empathize with.
I’m often skeptical of books that are told from different perspectives, because they almost never have independent voices the way real people do. Oftentimes each character is too clearly written by the same writer. This is not the case with Van Booy. His characters have their own clear voice, but the writing still maintains its impeccable quality.
Van Booy has a talent for bringing out the extraordinary in everyday circumstances. There are few writers who create art with every word the way he does. The Illusion of Separateness is no exception. As much as I loved his previous books, this one is by far his best. I must point out that I almost never read adult fiction, and when I do, it is classics. Van Booy is the exception to my disinterest in contemporary fiction (well done, sir), so this recommendation should not be taken lightly.