The stand-out most original book of the year

Fiction - Literary
120 Pages
Reviewed on 06/25/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

My Backstories Quest
“Whatever happened to, all of the heroes?” The Stranglers 1977

I was twelve years old when I first heard this song and although there was something in the feral tone that grabbed me, I didn’t really understand it. I do now. I get the angst and the loss and the emptiness, which is why, in Backstories, I aim to answer the question.
I’m not interested in simplistic tabloid truths of good and evil, success and failure; they clung on too long, drank too much, lost their looks and their charm and generally reminded us that we’re all getting older. That’s not what I want from my heroes. What I want is to find the spark, to dig down into their pain, their passions and their imperfections, and show you our heroes as they truly are.
So join me on my quest. Let’s bypass the obvious, the tedious and the dull, and brave the deeper, darker paths where treasures may be found. Together we’ll uncover the fears and doubts that made our heroes what they were, and perhaps catch a glimpse of ourselves along the way.
Whatever happened to all of the heroes?
They turned out to be human beings, in all their diverse glory.

Simon Van der Velde January, 2021

    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

As much as I consider myself an avid reader, there are still books that can surprise me with something new. Backstories by Simon van der Velde is one of those books. A collection of short stories set in the Sixties and Seventies between the United States and the United Kingdom, Backstories gives us accounts of abuse and violence against members of ethnic or sexual minorities. The stories do not present fictional or unknown characters but real people, although their identities are not revealed. The episodes date back to an era in which these people were not yet famous. It is through reading the stories that we can find clues to identify them. Therefore, it is up to the curious reader to find out who they are. With these intriguing elements, Backstories is a book that deserves to be read.

When a book manages to combine several elements successfully, the result is always amazing. This is the case in Backstories. Simon van der Velde has the ability to combine social issues with the mystery about the identity of the protagonists, something that cannot but fascinate readers. I particularly enjoyed the detective work I had to do, but, of course, the strong point of Backstories is how it deals with social issues. Guessing who is who is useful for keeping readers' attention alive, but is especially valuable for delivering the message of the stories. Backstories is truly a one-of-a-kind book, and I look forward to a new collection by van der Velde with its original and engaging features.