cover image Father’s Day

Father’s Day

Simon Van Booy. Harper, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-240894-5

In Van Booy’s moving, redemptive new novel, a little girl grows into a talented and insightful young woman under the tutelage of her uncle, a disabled, unemployed ex-con with tremendous rage issues. The story unfolds in two timelines, the first of which begins when six-year-old Harvey becomes an orphan, and a rule-bending social worker convinces Harvey’s reluctant uncle Jason to take in a child he’s never met. The second story line, when Harvey is 26, revolves around Jason’s visit for Father’s Day in Paris, where Harvey lives and works. The novel fleshes out much of the intervening years, with a clean writing style that avoids any mawkishness. Harvey’s thoughts and feelings as a child, for instance, are age appropriate in content and expression; she never comes off as overly precocious. The third-person narrative gives both characters their own, distinctive voices that nonetheless change over time. Van Booy (The Illusion of Separateness) creates refreshing, humorous, yet poignant childhood milestones that the two reach with emotional honesty. As Jason raises Harvey, he grows as a person, his absolution coming from surprising places. Agent: Carrie Konia, Conville and Walsh Literary Agency (Apr.)