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Description - The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr

A remarkable collection of stories from a young American writer of huge potential: 'A show-stopping debut, as close to faultless as any writer could wish for' Los Angeles Times 'His fingers dug the shell up, he felt the sleek egg of its body, the toothy gap of its aperture. It was the most elegant thing he'd ever held. "That's a mouse cowry," the doctor said. "A lovely find. It has brown spots, and darker stripes at its base, like tiger stripes. You can't see it, can you?" But he could. He'd never seen anything so clearly in his life.' In this assured, exquisite debut, Anthony Doerr takes readers from the African coast to the suburbs of Ohio, from sideshow pageantry to harsh wilderness survival, conjuring nature in both its beautiful abundance and its crushing power. The blind hero of the title story spends his days roaming the beaches of Kenya, his fingers ploughing through sandy granules of grace and intrigue, his German Shepherd at his side. And then there are whale-watchers and fishermen, hunters and mystics, living lives uncompleted or undone, caught, memorably, as they turn toward the reader. A natural storyteller, Doerr explores the human dilemma in all its manifestations: longing, grief, indecision, heartbreak and slow, slow recuperation. Shimmering with elegance and invention, 'The Shell Collector' is an enchanting and imaginative book by a young writer just setting off on what will surely be a hugely compelling literary odyssey.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780007146963
ISBN-10: 0007146965
Format: Hardback
(222mm x 141mm x mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Flamingo
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 18-Nov-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr

UK Kirkus Review » This is a finely honed collection by a new author, still in his 20s, who hails from Idaho. The shell collector of the title is a blind hermit who has retreated from his life as a professor and writer to live near an African lagoon and pursue his vocation of finding and identifying shells. We are first introduced to him at his sink, scrubbing limpets, before he goes out reluctantly to meet a pair of overweight tabloid reporters from the US. They've come to winkle out his amazing story: how he uses 'cone' shells to heal people from disease. It all started, we learn, 'when a malarial Seattle-born Buddhist named Nancy was stung by a cone shell' in his kitchen. Gradually, delicately, Doerr draws out the shell collector's entire life: the opthalmologist who led him to his first spit of beach; his first shell find, a mouse cowry, brown-spotted and tiger-striped at its base; his period of crewing in the tropics; the existence of a son, Josh, who airmails a letter every month, and one day, by surprise, splashes into the lagoon. In this, as in the other stories, Doerr makes vivid use of elements of the natural world to create a landscape in which everything seems to be quivering on the brink of movement. With a few deft words, he draws sharp and evocative word pictures, summoning a fairground ('the smells of fried dough, caramel and cinammon, the flap-flapping of tents, a carousel plinking out music-box songs') or the chill of deepest winter ('he showed her a pair of dormant frogs buried in frozen mud, their blood crystallised until spring'). This collection of complex and assured stories is sure to win him many admirers. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr Anthony Doerr is the author of four books, The Shell Collector, About Grace, Four Seasons in Rome and Memory Wall. Doerr's short fiction has won three O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He has won the Rome Prize, and shared the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award with Jonathan Safran Foer. In 2007 Granta placed Doerr on its list of the "21 Best Young American novelists." Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

Books By Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Paperback / softback, April 2017
About Grace by Anthony Doerr
Paperback / softback, October 2015
Luz Que No Puedes Ver by Anthony Doerr
Paperback / softback, June 2015
Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr
Paperback, January 2012