The latest from one of my favorite authors is a multi-generational saga that takes place in rural Kentucky. It goes back and forth between two characters’ timelines. Carol’s starts in 1933 when she is lost in a poker game by her alcoholic father. The other follows her grandson Samuel. Crossing both timelines is Carol’s developmentally disabled son Rusty, Samuel’s Uncle. Van Booy’s ability to show the depths of his characters in such spare and crystal clear prose never ceases to astonish me. He is one of the most gifted and empathetic writers I've ever read. This novel is alternately beautiful and tragic. It details the lives of the people of Appalachia in a way that neither fetishizes them or turns them into caricatures (a common offense even with writers who are originally from the region which the author is not). These characters are based on actual people the author has known for decades. He has served them well with this haunting novel.
— From Kelly
"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."
--USA Today 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 illuminates our own lives.