Synopses & Reviews
In this astonishingly assured, exquisitely crafted debut collection, Anthony Doerr takes readers from the African coast to the suburbs of Ohio, from sideshow pageantry to harsh wilderness survival, charting a vast and varied emotional landscape. Like the best storytellers, Doerr explores the human condition in all its manifestations: metamorphosis, grief, fractured relationships, and slowly mending hearts. Most dazzling is Doerr's gift for conjuring nature in both its beautiful abundance and crushing power. Some of his characters contend with tremendous hardship; some discover unique gifts; all arc united by their ultimate deference to the mysteries of their respective landscapes.
In "The Hunter's Wife," a hunter's profession is challenged when he learns that his wife can communicate with animal spirits. "For a Long Time This Was Griselda's Story" features two sisters in Idaho struggling to come to terms with the very different paths they have chosen, one traveling the globe with a sideshow and one remaining with her mother in their hometown. In "July 4th," a group of wealthy Americans enters a bet with a gang of British sportsmen: the first side to land the largest freshwater fish on each of the continents wins. The title story describes a blind marine biologist who isolates himself in a thatch-roofed kibanda in Kenya, only to be thrust into the spotlight when he accidentally discovers the cure for a fatal disease. Like all of Doerr's stories, it shimmers with beautiful language and transports readers to a perfectly realized, magical world of his own creation. The Shell Collector is an enchanting and imaginative debut by a young writer embarking on an important literary career.
"The natural world exerts a powerful, brooding presence in this first collection; it's almost as much a main character as any of the individuals the 26-year-old Doerr records....The title story could well appear in the next Best American or O. Henry anthologies, and the others make a fine supporting cast." Publishers Weekly
"This striking debut collection of eight stories offers several boldly imagined and scrupulously detailed explorations of the mysteries inherent in both the natural world and human interconnection." Kirkus Reviews
"[Doerr] shapes intricate worlds with syllables, rhythms, and carefully chosen words; these stories are a tour de force of letters....The characters' exertions, internal and external, mesmerize despite the occasional stilted Hemingwayesque hiccup. A fascinating collection..." Library Journal
About the Author
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Anthony Doerr
has lived in Africa and New Zealand. His stories have appeared in numerous publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The North American Review,
and The Black Warrior Review.
He is twenty-eight years old and lives in Boise, Idaho.
Table of Contents
The Shell Collector
The Hunter's Wife
So Many Chances
For a Long Time
This Was Griselda's Story
A Tangle by the Rapid River