Thirteen Ways of Looking

Thirteen Ways of Looking

Fiction

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
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Random House, Inc.
In such acclaimed novels as Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic,National Book Award–winning author Colum McCann has transfixed readers with his precision, tenderness, and authority. Now, in his first collection of short fiction in more than a decade, McCann charts the territory of chance, and the profound and intimate consequences of even our smallest moments.
 
“As it was, it was like being set down in the best of poems, carried into a cold landscape, blindfolded, turned around, unblindfolded, forced, then, to invent new ways of seeing.”
 
In the exuberant title novella, a retired judge reflects on his life’s work, unaware as he goes about his daily routines that this particular morning will be his last. In “Sh’khol,” a mother spending Christmas alone with her son confronts the unthinkable when he disappears while swimming off the coast near their home in Ireland. In “Treaty,” an elderly nun catches a snippet of a news report in which it is revealed that the man who once kidnapped and brutalized her is alive, masquerading as an agent of peace. And in “What Time Is It Now, Where You Are?” a writer constructs a story about a Marine in Afghanistan calling home on New Year’s Eve.
 
Deeply personal, subtly subversive, at times harrowing, and indeed funny, yet also full of comfort,Thirteen Ways of Looking is a striking achievement. With unsurpassed empathy for his characters and their inner lives, Colum McCann forges from their stories a profound tribute to our search for meaning and grace. The collection is a rumination on the power of storytelling in a world where language and memory can sometimes falter, but in the end do not fail us, and a contemplation of the healing power of literature.
 
Praise for Colum McCann
 

Let the Great World Spin
Winner of the National Book Award
 
“One of the most electric, profound novels I have read in years.”—Jonathan Mahler, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Stunning . . . [an] elegiac glimpse of hope.”USA Today
 
“There’s so much passion and humor and pure life force on every page that you’ll find yourself giddy, dizzy, overwhelmed.”—Dave Eggers
 
TransAtlantic
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
 
“Reminiscent of the finest work of Michael Ondaatje and Michael Cunningham.”O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Here is the uncanny thing McCann finds again and again about the miraculous: that it is inseparable from the everyday.”The Boston Globe
 
“Another sweeping, beautifully constructed tapestry of life . . . Reading McCann is a rare joy.”The Seattle Times

Baker & Taylor
A new story collection by the best-selling author of Let the Great World Spin includes the title novella, in which an octogenarian retired judge's musings on his life are interrupted by police updates about his murder later that afternoon. 40,000 first printing.

Baker
& Taylor

A story collection includes the title novella, in which an octogenarian retired judge's musings on his life are interrupted by police updates about his murder later that afternoon.

Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2015]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780812996722
0812996720
Characteristics: 242 pages ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: 13 ways of looking

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j
jr3083
Jun 20, 2017

Written by the author of one of my favourite books (This Side of Brightness) this is a really strong collection, comprising a novella and three short stories. Each one of them is memorable in its own way.
I often find myself thinking about the editorial decision to select one short story over another in a compilation like this, and whether and how the individual stories contribute to the overarching unity of the collection. These stories, very different though they are, are linked by their exploration of multiple perspectives, the elision of past and present and the contingency of fate. I enjoyed each of them, most particularly the first and final stories. Perhaps it’s because there were only four of them, but each of them is clearly defined in my mind in its own right – something that doesn’t always happen when reading a book of short stories. Or perhaps, as I suspect, it’s because Colum McCann is a very, very good writer.

See my full review at: https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/thirteen-ways-of-looking-by-colum-mccann/

t
tapestry
Mar 08, 2017

Another Irish writer with a gift for language, great empathy and a sense of humour. Our book club enjoyed a lively discussion.
Jessie May

e
EmilyEm
May 30, 2016

Three stories and a novella fill this volume of luminescent prose.
His writing is so original, getting to the heart of his characters, but surprising readers with every story's end. Oh, the discussions these will stimulate for years to come.

bickjd Feb 26, 2016

Colum McCann consistently comes through with poetic narrative techniques, and unique plotlines. His characters develop quickly, without any sacrifices to their depth.

These stories express great humility and empathy. Giving voices to those who are so often silenced: the beaten, the bereaved, the abused.

check out: http://colummccann.com/extended-authors-note-and-victim-impact-statement/
for the Author's Victim Impact Statement, after he was sucker-punched and hospitalized. An event that impacted his life, his work, and brought the two together in a powerful way.

athompson10 Nov 14, 2015

Author has a beautiful light touch with words.

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