The Secret Lives of People in Love


“The Secret Lives of People in Love” by Simon Van Booy
(First publication: 2007 / This edition: Harper Perennial 2010)
Taken during a day out with my grandma. I
love red carnations.

Perhaps we are each allotted only a certain amount of love—enough only for an initial meeting—a serendipitous clumsiness.
When it leaves to find others, the difficulty begins because we are faced with our humanness, our past, our very being. (pg.45)

Since it’s leading to Valentine’s Day… Might as well post something a little lovey-dovey.

This was an impulse purchase. I had never heard of the author and I actually thought I’d be reading poems. I kind of just impulsively ordered it from Book Depository and forgot about it about it arrived. I was excited to read it though—the title caught my attention. I’m a sucker for love-related, emotionally-heavy reads (but strictly no cheese).

Turns out it’s actually a collection of short stories. I’ve read about one-third of the stories, and I might just pause here. For a while, at least.

I started reading this about a week and a half ago, and I’d been carrying it around, reading whenever I have some free time. That’s the beauty of short stories—you can jump in and out of the book, so it’s the most ideal and convenient for days out.

However…as I’ve already said  ranted in previous posts, I’m not good with short stories. I tend to get bored and drift off. I can’t get focused. I guess it’s because I already know that I don’t need to put any “focus” or “devotion” into the story that much because in just a few pages (or in some cases, in just one page), the story will end. Forever. And there would be “no point” in putting effort in trying to get that absorbed in the story.

And having to learn everything new again after just 2-3 pages?…I think I can probably do it for the first 3-4 stories, but after that, I think my mind just automatically loses interest and I get bored. Either my mind would still be stuck in the previous story or my eyes are reading the words but my mind won’t digest any of it anymore.

Rant rant rant.

The last time I read from this collection was probably 2-3 days ago, and I can’t seem to get myself to go on reading the rest from the collection. Not saying that the ones I have actually read were bad or anything. I think this is actually a short-story collection that I (kind of) enjoyed—at least more than Chekhov, whom I felt so “……………meh” about.

But the thing is… with short stories, I tend to always forget so shortly afterwards what the story was about. It’s only been a few days but as I sit here trying to recall the content of what I had read… I just can’t remember anything. I do remember I enjoyed some a little and I found a large portion of them quite depressing.

I would recommend this to people who like short stories. To quote Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” …Maybe not the perfect place to say this and probably (definitely) not how Maya Angelou had intended it, but… I forgot what Simon Van Booy said; but I will never forget that I felt that he has a beautiful way of writing.



Here are some of my favorite lines (from the stories I have read):

It is cloudy, but flowers have burst open. It’s amazing how they contain all that color within those thing, withering segments. (pg.4)

[…] I can tell who is in love with who when I look at people. (pg.1)

Without memory, man would be invincible. (pg.12)

Love reveals the beauty of seemingly trivial things—a pair of shoes, an empty wine glass, an open drawer, cracks on the avenue. (pg.48)

Memory is like life but with actors. (pg.68)


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