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Book Public: 'Sipsworth' by Simon Van Booy

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Simon Van Booy
Simon Van Booy

In Simon Van Booy’s latest novel, Sipsworth, Helen Cartwright returns to the English village of her childhood —after living in Australia for six decades. She’s endured the deaths of both her husband and her son. At age 80, she decides she’d like to die, too, and quickly. But then three years go by. Death does not come. Instead, life has continued for her where “each day was an impersonation of the one before.”

But then something breaks up the monotony and the routine. It is a mouse. Sipsworth.

Yes, Helen Cartwright has been entirely alone and chooses to close herself off from the rest of the world outside her mustard-colored door. She’d considered doing away with the eponymous mouse, but changes her mind and even feels compelled to care for and consider someone other than herself.

At first blush, the odd couple might seem to defy all reason and logic. Soon enough the conviviality is such a natural part of the events that follow—some that will be surprising to readers at first, until they can see the ways that the friendship takes hold and even has implications for life outside the house on Westminster Crescent.

Simon Van Booy is the author of Sipsworth. It’s published by Godine Books. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than a dozen books for children and adults. Raised in North Wales, he currently lives between London and New York, where is a book editor and a volunteer EMT for Central Park Medical Unit. In early 2020, he rescued his first mouse.

Yvette Benavides can be reached at bookpublic@tpr.org.