A master storyteller’s vision reawakens us to the human experience in this diverse, haunting, and unexpectedly humorous new collection of short fiction from Simon Van Booy—his first since Love Begins in Winter, winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
“She believed it was a gift to never truly know the self. We are not who we think we are, nor how others see us. Long before death, we die a thousand times at the hands of a definition.”
In his first book of short stories since Love Begins in Winter, for which he won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award), bestselling author Simon Van Booy offers a collection of stories highlighting how human genius can emerge through acts of compassion. Through characters including an eccentric film director, an aging Cockney bodyguard, the teenage child of Nigerian immigrants, a divorced amateur magician from New Jersey, and a Beijing street vendor who becomes an overnight billionaire, Tales of Accidental Genius contemplates individuals from different cultures, races—rich and poor, young and old—and reveals how faith and yearning for connection helps us all transcend darkness of fear and misfortune.
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.
“There is a deep and abiding humanism to these stories: people assisting others because the alternative is too grim to contemplate…For all of the globe-trotting and experiments in storytelling found here, there’s also a very human core to these stories—a humanistic reminder of the connections we all share.”
— Minneapolis Star Tribune
“One of the beauties of all Van Booy’s stories, including in his two prior stories collections and in two novels, is that he tells his stories without affectation, but ever so effectively as a stylist and a devout humanist. One amplifies the other, making his stories literary treasures.”
— Portland Press Herald
“One of the best living short story writers gives us a collection of six beautifully written stories and a novella that search for the genius in common places and everyday deeds by way of poetic prose.”
— Kansas City Star
“Tales of Accidental Genius proves to be a moving, humorous and engaging look at the ways people lean on and support one another. The first six stories fit together like houses on a street... [an] enthralling collection.”
— Paste Magazine