Night Came with Many Stars

“Van Booy finds the weakness, grace, and beauty of common lives fully lived.”—NPR

In Kentucky, back in 1933, Carol’s daddy lost his 13-year-old daughter in a game of cards. Award-winning author Simon Van Booy’s spellbinding novel spans decades as he tells the story of Carol and the people in her life. Incidents intersect and lives unexpectedly change course in this masterfully interwoven story of chance and choice that leads home again to a night blessed with light.

“What you give in this world,” an old man tells his grandson, “will be given back to you.” Those words illuminate the actions within this unforgettable novel and its connected characters. A young man survives two nearly fatal accidents. A Black family saves an orphaned white boy. A pregnant teenager is rescued by the side of the road. A teenager with developmental disabilities is given his first job. Each incident grows in meaning and power over many decades as we see connections sometimes felt but not always apparent to the people themselves. “Everything was moving,” observes Samuel (Carol’s grandson) in the Kentucky woods. “An invisible force that was everywhere, and made everything touch.”

Told by a master storyteller, Night Came with Many Stars is a rare novel that reveals how wondrous, mysterious, and magically connected life can be—the light Simon Van Booy creates in this novel illuminates our own lives.


“Kindness and raw luck undergird Night Came with Many Stars… And like Dickens’s young heroes, Van Booy’s determined souls act with their whole hearts—as does this brave, fierce novel—to earn what good may come.”
Boston Globe

“Van Booy is a beautiful storyteller, and his latest offering is no exception.”
New York Post

“A work of great warmth, generosity, and optimism. Van Booy is a writer of grace and empathy.”
The East Hampton Star

“Cycles of racism, violence, and misogyny are disrupted by the grace-filled actions of friends, relatives, and strangers… This well-crafted and often serendipitous saga recognizes that family cannot be escaped but can be expanded.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Van Booy follows two generations of a rural Kentucky family across nearly a century in his fractured, melancholic latest. Themes of resilience and tragedy come through…”
—Publishers Weekly 

“A beautifully realized, multigenerational family novel that is exceptional for its memorable, fully developed characters. Readers will become emotionally invested…invited to consider the meaning of family and the power of memory.”

“Van Booy is a masterful young storyteller, writing from an old soul. His writing often highlights the connectedness of individual lives and the reverberations of a single act for generations.”
—Ellen Jarrett (Porter Square Books) in the Boston Globe


“I have long loved the work of Simon Van Booy, and this spare, gorgeously-written novel may be his best yet. These unforgettable characters and the intersection of their destinies through time form a pattern as true and human and beautiful as life itself.”
Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance

“Simon Van Booy’s Night Came with Many Stars is an ambitious and deeply humane novel about the lives of an American family across multiple generations. Not since Ray Pollock’s Knockemstiff and Denis Johnson’s Jesus’s Son has middle America been so powerfully evoked and brilliantly animated. This is a monumental novel that brings something new and resonant to the classic American multi-generational family novel.”
Chigozie Obioma, author of The Fishermen

“Beautiful as an old bruise, plain-spoken as a prayer, Night Came with Many rings hard and true with the poetry of real life. Van Booy knows that love and heartache go hand-in-hand—and that cold hard reality is no match for the dreams and longings each of us carry inside.”
Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times Bestseller

“Simon Van Booy’s spellbinding novel is told with an exquisite and poetic delicacy, imbued with a profound compassion for the humanity of its characters. It is a gorgeously written, deeply moving triumph.”
Gabriel Byrne, author of Walking with Ghosts

“Simon Van Booy knows about family and long friendship, about betrayal and costly loyalty, about the exquisite and mundane ways we care for one another through sorrow and joy. Tender and searching, Night Came with Many Stars opens worlds to us—worlds of the heart and of small-town America—in prose that is lean and almost reckless in its confidence and beauty.”
Meredith Hall, New York Times Bestseller

“A breathtaking talent and an artist in the fullest sense of the word, few writers sculpt their sentences with such beautiful precision, and fewer still imbue their characters with such depth of humanity. Night Came with Many Stars is a triumph, possibly his best work yet, a devastating, heartbreaking, and deeply truthful novel that will keep its hooks in the reader long beyond the final page. A stunning achievement.”
Billy O’Callaghan, author of Life Sentences

“This beautiful novel left me with a heightened appreciation of the pattern created by each individual life, as well as the larger pattern of several lives overlapping. Night Came with Many Stars is about impermanence and resilience, and the marvelous randomness of the world.”
Sara Baume
, author of Spill Simmer Falter Wither

PRAISE for Simon Van Booy

“The uncanny beauty of Van Booy’s prose, and his ability to knife straight to the depths of a character’s heart, fill a reader with wonder.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“One of the best living short story writers.”—Kansas City Star

“Masterful prose….From minimalistic sentences he wrings out maximum impact, stripping away artifice and elaboration in favor of stark, emotional clarity and honesty.”—Boston Globe

“Van Booy’s stories are somehow like paintings the characters walk out of, and keep walking.”—Los Angeles Times

“A strong voice full of poetic, timeless grace.”—San Francisco Examiner

“Van Booy tells his stories without affectation, but ever so effectively as a stylist and a devout humanist.”—Portland Press Herald

Simon Van Booy is the award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen books for adults and children. He is the editor of three volumes of philosophy and has written for The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, and the BBC. His books have been translated into many languages and optioned for film. Raised in rural North Wales, he currently lives in New York where he is also a book editor and a volunteer EMT for Central Park Medical Unit and R.V.A.C.