The characters in Simon Van Booy's The Illusion of Separateness discover at their darkest moments of fear and isolation that they are not alone, that they were never alone, that every human being is a link in a chain we cannot see.
This gripping novel, inspired by true events, tells the interwoven stories of a deformed German infantryman, a lonely British film child on the brink of starvation, and a caretaker at a retirement home for actors in Santa Monica.
The same world moves under each of them, so that one by one, through seemingly random acts of selflessness, a veil is lifted to reveal the vital parts they have played in one another's lives, and the illusion of their separateness.
Simon Van Booy is the author of The Secret Lives of People in Love, Love Begins in Winter (winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award) and the novel, Everything Beautiful Began After. He is the editor of three philosophy books, titled Why We Fight, Why We Need Love, and Why Our Decisions Don't Matter. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Daily Telegraph, The Times, Guardian, and ELLE Men (China), where he has a monthly column. He has also written for the stage, National Public Radio, and the BBC. He was a finalist for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, and his work has been translated into more than fifteen languages. He lives in New York.
'Simon Van Booy is an extraordinary writer.' Binnie Kirshenbaum
'His prose is music, and his characters are warmhearted, gentle, bemused, philosophical beings.' East Hampton Star
'Using restraint and a subtle dose of foreshadowing, Van Booy expertly entangles these disparate lives; but it's what he leaves out that captures the imagination...the writing is what makes this remarkable book soar.' Publishers Weekly
'A spare, elliptical story of human connection, framed by the horror of World War II...the story snaps together beautifully. A brilliant...novel that shows how a single act can echo through time; definitely recommended.' Library Journal