Oh my, read this book…

9 comments
Apeirogon: A Novel by Colum McCann

I have just finished listening to Colum McCann’s new book and found it mesmerizing. It is referred to as A NOVEL but, to my ear, was really more like an extended prose poem. Sometimes it was like listening to a painting. Read by the author, his Irish colors everything. And his intent and delivery are so clear. It is a beautiful book. It is also a heartbreaking book. It is also a book that outrages.

Apeirogon tells the story of Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian, and Rami Elhanan, an Israeli. Both having lost young daughters to the conflict that rages in their homeland, they develop a deep and unbreakable friendship. McCann weaves their stories together, weaves stories of the cultural and social and natural history that surround them. Their stories are both personal and universal. Many varied subjects make an appearance and are woven into the story – the migration of birds, the music of John Cage, the theory of amicable numbers. This book is a whole cloth, it is tapestry, time travel. The story is written from many perspectives. It includes fiction, science, mathematics, non fiction transcript. None of the chapters are particularly long, some are a single sentence or phrase. Many are repeated.

As to format, I think if I had a read a print copy of the book, there are things I may have understood more fully, could have referred back to, that kind of thing. But listening to it really, really brought out the life in the book, the lives in the book, its beauty and terror. This book will stay with me for a long, long time. McCann is a master story teller, a master painter of language.

9 comments on “Oh my, read this book…”

    1. I just requested it from the library. There’s quite a wait. I love to have books that are out ahead of me–it’s good to have things to look forward to right now. Thanks for your review. I loved the quote.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I love our continued conversation about listening versus reading and their differing values. I think listening and reading this together would be a strong combo sounds like…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You sold me, JNaz. I’ve reserved both the book and the audiobook on the library’s website. I have a few times gotten my hands on both book and audiobook, although it will be tricky with a 2020 release because there are queues for both of them. The shortest line is for the large print version. Hey, I’m not too proud. Gotta get to the theory of amicable numbers post-haste!

    Have you read McCann’s Letters to a Young Writer from 2017?

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  3. One thing I wanted to add re McCann and his writing. He will often use a noun, or adjective, as a verb and it is can be very evocative, i.e. “…birds terror across the sky…”

    Liked by 2 people

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