Beautifully written and compelling, About Grace is the brilliant debut novel from Anthony Doerr.
Beautifully written and compelling, About Grace is the brilliant debut novel from Anthony Doerr. Growing up in Alaska, young David Winkler is crippled by his dreams. At nine, he dreams a man is decapitated by a passing truck on the path outside his family's home. The next day, unable to prevent it, he witnesses an exact replay of his dream in real life. The premonitions keep coming, unstoppably. He sleepwalks during them, bringing catastrophe into his reach. Then, as unstoppable as a vision, he falls in love, at the supermarket (exactly as he already dreamed) with Sandy. They flee south, landing in Ohio, where their daughter Grace is born. And then the visions of Grace's death begin for Winkler, as their waterside home is inundated. Plagued by the same horrific images of Grace drowning, when the floods come, he cannot face his destiny and flees. He beaches on a remote Caribbean island, where he works as a handyman, chipping away at his doubts and hopes, never knowing whether Grace survived the flood or met the doom he foretold. After two decades, he musters the strength to find out!
Anthony Doerr's stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Atlantic Monthly. The Shell Collector is his first book. He is 30 and lives in Idaho, where he is Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Boise State University. He has also recently been awarded a fellowship at Princeton University.
'I loved this wonderful book - its strangeness, its obsessiveness, its beautiful sentences.' Monica Ali 'Doerr's sublime renditions of Winkler's attunement to the world around him turn his story into a prolonged epiphany, a blissful parable about grace. This is a formidable literary achievement that, link Winkler's snow crystals, integrates facets and dimensions into near-perfect whole.' Peter Carty, Independent 'Doerr's gifts as a stylist are powerfully in evidence: his writing is crystalline, his attention to detail intense and evocative. That Doerr is a writer of exceptional gifts is not in question, and there is much to admire in this novel.' Claire Messud, Daily Telegraph 'Doerr writes wonderfully, lyrically, of the natural world, and his observations of water, snowflakes and clouds illuminate this impressive debut.' Rachel Hore, Guardian 'Exceptional first novel. I hesitate to say this book will take your breath away because it's such a cliche; but, really, I promise you, it will... I can't remember when a novel so entranced me. The only criticism I can really muster - and it is rather a limp one - is that About Grace is almost inhumanely faultless; almost, but, even then, not quite.' Melanie McGrath, Evening Standard 'In careful, measured prose conjures a sense of awe both humbling and salutary. It has the bleak, lucid beauty of a day of midwinter light. At its best when describing the minute, disregarded miracles of the natural world, it lingers in the mind like one of the protagonist's eerie dreams.' Ned Denny, Daily Mail Praise for The Shell Collector: 'An extraordinary debut collection, filled with the vastness of the natural world pressing against human insignificance.' Guardian 'A show-stopping debut, as close to faultless as any writer could wish for' Los Angeles Times 'A fine collection! Doerr's prose dazzles from the very beginning.' New York Times 'Perilously beautiful, precise and elegant! Doerr can describe a woman running through a Tanzanian forest with the careful specificity of a scientist and the awe of a poet; he can give you a sunrise with the glory-bound colours of apricot and gold, and two pages later you're meeting a young woman in Idaho, who falls in love with the metal-eater at the country fair! Breathtaking.' Boston Globe 'An impressive first collection! Doerr's stories evoke the ecstatic feeling that comes from loving something or someone very much.' TLS 'Loss, estrangement and distance are the collection's keynotes. Doerr frames and executes these stories with seemingly effortless panache.' Economist
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