There is truly nothing like the feeling of opening a new novel by Simon Van Booy. Father’s Day is a gentle and absorbing story about a woman named Harvey and her adoptive parent, a felon with a violent past who never saw himself as a father. Shifting between scenes of Harvey as a young girl and as a self-assured woman in Paris, Father’s Day is a meditation on the immense effect one human life can have on another.— Kat
Yet again, Simon Van Booy subtly strings together the mystery of intersecting lives, beautifully and with poetic rhythm. As Harvey anxiously waits for her father to arrive for a visit in Paris, where she's moved in her in mid-twenties--the first time she's left home--she reflects on the moments that defined her childhood and their tender, complex relationship. Jason was an unlikely parent with deep emotional wounds, a violent past, and an abusive father of his own; Harvey's upbringing was unconventional, yet Jason's love grows into selfless care. The pivotal experiences of Harvey and Jason’s seemingly solitary, microcosmic life become emblematic of something bigger about the human heart and the compassion at its core.— Julia
“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.
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.