Over the course of two weeks in a small English town, a reclusive widow discovers an unexpected reason to live.
Following the loss of her husband and son, Helen Cartwright returns to the village of her childhood after living abroad for six decades. Her only wish is to die quickly and without fuss. She retreats into her home on Westminster Crescent, becoming a creature of routine and habit: “Each day was an impersonation of the one before with only a slight shuffle—as though even for death there is a queue.”
Then, one cold winter night, a chance encounter with a mouse sets Helen on a surprising journey.
Sipsworth is a reminder that there can be second chances. No matter what we have planned for ourselves, sometimes life has plans of its own. With profound compassion, Simon Van Booy illuminates not only a deep friendship forged between two lonely creatures, but the reverberations of goodness that ripple out from that unique bond.
Praise for Simon Van Booy
“Sipsworth is a love story about a woman and a mouse. Reason suggests that such a relationship couldn’t possibly work, and yet I found myself pulling for this unlikely duo on every page. Simon Van Booy’s characters are loaded with charm, resilience, and the deep desire for connection that all mammals share. I loved it.”
“Through tears, laughter, joy, and pain, I just couldn’t stop reading this novel about friendship and second chances. Sipsworth is a marvel—storytelling at its absolute finest.”
“Whimsical, beautifully detailed, and filled with heart, Sipsworth is a slim, sparkling jewel of a novel.”
—Christina Baker Kline
“Flows with depth and power….From its outset, The Presence of Absence runs blood-rich with declarations that make you inhale sharply….wide-open wonder.”
“Rich in setting and emotion. As ever with Van Booy, the reader is in good hands.”
“Simon Van Booy electrifyingly combines story with parable. The Presence of Absence boggles and reverberates: wise, witty and always breathtakingly beautiful.”
—San Francisco Chronicle, Best Fiction of the Year
“With its elegant passages on love and the fallibility of memory . . . this indelible portrait of transience, sorrow and hope will move readers.”
“It is a heartbreaking book, a gorgeous book…In Night Came with Many Stars, Van Booy finds the weakness, grace and beauty of common lives fully lived.”
—NPR, “Books We Love”
“Not to miss!”
“Kindness and raw luck undergird Night Came with Many Stars—echoing the trials and windfalls of Oliver Twist or David Copperfield. 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.”
“Van Booy is a beautiful storyteller, and his latest offering is no exception.”
—New York Post, “Best new books”