Father's Day: A Novel (Paperback)
May 2016 Indie Next List
“Van Booy's delicate touch is turned to the relationship between orphaned Harvey and her uncle, Jason, a man no one could expect to be the right choice as guardian. Van Booy uses the plot structure of a series of Father's Day gifts given to Jason from the now adult Harvey to reveal more than either of them realized about the life they have shared as adoptive father and daughter, as well as the heartbreaking truth of how they came to be a part of each other's lives. Father's Day is Van Booy at his most poignant, showing how redemption can arise from heartbreaking circumstances.”
— Don Luckham (E), The Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH
When devastating news shatters the life of six-year-old Harvey, she finds herself in the care of a veteran social worker, Wanda, and alone in the world save for one relative she has never met—a disabled felon, haunted by a violent past he can't escape.
Moving between past and present, Father’s Day weaves together the story of Harvey’s childhood on Long Island and her life as a young woman in Paris. Written in raw, spare prose that personifies the characters, this novel is the journey of two people searching for a future in the ruin of their past.
Father's Day is a meditation on the quiet, sublime power of compassion, and the beauty of simple, everyday things—a breakthrough work from one of our most gifted chroniclers of the human heart.
About the Author
Simon Van Booy is the author of two novels and two collections of short stories, including The Secret Lives of People in Love and Love Begins in Winter, which won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. He is the editor of three philosophy books and has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and the BBC. His work has been translated into fourteen languages. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.
“In this novel, Van Booy is at his most poignant, showing how redemption can arise from heartbreaking circumstances.”
— Boston Globe
“There’s so much to enjoy along the way, from Mr. Van Booy’s muted lyricism to the profusion of quiet domestic moments rendered in the strangely captivating way of Andre Dubus.”
— Baylis Greene, East Hampton Star
In Father’s Day, Van Booy again deftly demonstrates that he is a master at the craft of storytelling.
— Portland Press Herald
“Moving, redemptive new novel...The third-person narrative gives both characters their own, distinctive voices that nonetheless change over time. Van Booy creates refreshing, humorous, yet poignant childhood milestones that the two reach with emotional honesty.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Van Booy’s great triumph comes in using a family secret to underscore the message that family is as much a choice as a blood tie. Although any reader will find something to love here, someone who has benefited from a perfectly imperfect family will wear the widest smile. This little book with a big heart is suitable not just for Father’s Day, but for any day.”
— Shelf Awareness
“[Van Booy’s] facility with word choice and sentence structure can leave a reader swooning...[a] movingly understated drama punctuated with moments of quiet reflection.”
— Barbara VanDenburgh, Arizona Republic
“The moving account of a unique relationship between a parent and child, thrust together under the worst of circumstances. With fine, nuanced prose and much tenderness, Booy guides this unlikely father-daughter pair into a beautiful maturity, showing us with great heart what it really means to be a family.”
— Elizabeth Crane, author of The History of Great Things