discount Apeirogon: lowest online sale A Novel online

discount Apeirogon: lowest online sale A Novel online

discount Apeirogon: lowest online sale A Novel online

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A quite extraordinary novel. Colum McCann has found the form and voice to tell the most complex of stories, with an unexpected friendship between two men at its powerfully beating heart.”—Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire
 
FINALIST FOR THE DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD • LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE • WINNER OF THE NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Independent • The New York Public Library • Library Journal

From the National Book Award–winning and bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin comes an epic novel rooted in the unlikely real-life friendship between two fathers.

 
Bassam Aramin is Palestinian. Rami Elhanan is Israeli. They inhabit a world of conflict that colors every aspect of their lives, from the roads they are allowed to drive on to the schools their children attend to the checkpoints, both physical and emotional, they must negotiate.
 
But their lives, however circumscribed, are upended one after the other: first, Rami’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Smadar, becomes the victim of suicide bombers; a decade later, Bassam’s ten-year-old daughter, Abir, is killed by a rubber bullet. Rami and Bassam had been raised to hate one another. And yet, when they learn of each other’s stories, they recognize the loss that connects them. Together they attempt to use their grief as a weapon for peace—and with their one small act, start to permeate what has for generations seemed an impermeable conflict.
 
This extraordinary novel is the fruit of a seed planted when the novelist Colum McCann met the real Bassam and Rami on a trip with the non-profit organization Narrative 4. McCann was moved by their willingness to share their stories with the world, by their hope that if they could see themselves in one another, perhaps others could too.
 
With their blessing, and unprecedented access to their families, lives, and personal recollections, McCann began to craft  Apeirogon, which uses their real-life stories to begin another—one that crosses centuries and continents, stitching together time, art, history, nature, and politics in a tale both heartbreaking and hopeful. The result is an ambitious novel, crafted out of a universe of fictional and nonfictional material, with these fathers’ moving story at its heart.

Amazon.com Review

Colum McCann’s 2009 novel, Let the Great World Spin, was a kaleidoscopic tale of New Yorkers in the 1970s that became an instant bestseller, won a National Book Award, and was named an Amazon Best Book of the Year, among many other honors. Ten years later, he has pushed the limits of kaleidoscopic with Apeirogon. The definition of the title is a shape with a countably infinite number of sides, and the book lives up to its meaning. In Apeirogon, McCann unfurls the story of two fathers, one Palestinian and one Israeli, who have both lost their daughters to the violence that surrounds them. Over the course of the day, these two men’s lives intertwine as they attempt to use their grief as a weapon for peace. Told in one thousand and one short vignettes, McCann flashes from the present to the past, sharing the lives of these men, the lives of their daughters, the experience of crossing police checkpoints and surviving jail, meditations on the migration pattern of birds, the making of bullets, and the history of the region. With these bursts, the novel centers on the unlikely friendship of two fathers and takes on a cinematic quality that vibrates with empathy, presenting a sweeping portrait of the complex conflict at the heart of the Holy Land. Apeirogon is a soaring and revelatory reading experience that is at once intimate and vast, heartbreaking and hopeful, and, yes, kaleidoscopic. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Book Review

Review

“Brilliant . . . powerful and prismatic . . . Apeirogon is an empathy engine, utterly collapsing the gulf between teller and listener. . . . It achieves its aim by merging acts of imagination and extrapolation with historical fact. But it’s undisputably a novel, and, to my mind, an exceedingly important one. It does far more than make an argument for peace; it is, itself, an agent of change.” The New York Times Book Review (cover review)
 
“This is a wondrous book. In an accretion of splendid detail, McCann writes with an amazing abundance of humanity as he describes the age-old story of inhumanity to man. The effect is absolutely staggering—it will bring you to your knees. Writing at the top of his game, McCann brings us a book that we sorely need. It left me hopeful; this is its gift. What a read!” —Elizabeth Strout
 
“Virtuosic . . . Colum McCann’s grand and exhilarating novel  Apeirogon is . . . a profound prayer for peace. . . . Apeirogon reminds us that such incandescent art evokes humility and light in the face of oppression and loss.” O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Dazzling . . . hypnotic . . . heartbreaking and mesmerizing . . . Besides the kaleidoscopic brilliance of the narrative, this is also a deeply human story.” San Francisco Chronicle

“McCann performs his own epic balancing act between life and art, writing with stunning lyricism and fluent empathy as he traces the ripple effects of violence and grief, beauty, and the miraculous power of friendship and love, valor and truth.” Booklist (starred review)
 
“Distinguished by empathy and intelligence, this transformative novel marks a new threshold of writing about the conflict.  Apeirogon will have a potent effect on all those who read it and, remarkably, could lead to great consequences for the future of this place.” —Raja Shehadeh, author of Palestinian Walks  
 
“A work of incredible magnitude . . . McCann finds the emotional accuracy, the sensitivity, and the beauty to tell the heartbreaking reality of life in Israel-Palestine, while allowing readers a glimmer of necessary hope.” —Assaf Gavron, author of The Hilltop 
 
“A soaring, ambitious triumph . . . deeply nuanced and sensitive . . . a remarkable achievement . . . McCann’s latest novel might be his finest yet.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

About the Author

Colum McCann is the internationally bestselling author of the novels TransAtlantic, Let the Great World Spin, Zoli, Dancer, This Side of Brightness, and Songdogs, as well as three critically acclaimed story collections and the nonfiction book Letters to a Young Writer. His fiction has been published in over forty languages. He has received many international honors, including the National Book Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Pushcart Prize, and an Oscar nomination for his short film Everything in This Country Must. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the Irish association of artists Aosdána, and he has also received a Chevalier des Artes et des Lettres award from the French government. In addition, he has won awards in Italy, Germany, and China. A contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review, he teaches in the Hunter College MFA Creative Writing program. He lives with his family in New York City, where he is the cofounder of the global nonprofit story exchange organization Narrative 4.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

2016

1

The hills of Jerusalem are a bath of fog. Rami moves by memory through a straight stretch, and calculates the camber of an upcoming turn.

Sixty-seven years old, he bends low on the motorbike, his jacket padded, his helmet clipped tight. It is a Japanese bike, 750 cc. An agile machine for a man his age.

Rami pushes the bike hard, even in bad weather.

He takes a sharp right at the gardens where the fog lifts to reveal dark. Corpus separatum. He downshifts and whips past a military tower. The sodium lights appear fuzzy in the morning. A small flock of birds momentarily darkens the orange.

At the bottom of the hill the road dips into another curve, obscured in fog. He taps down to second, lets out the clutch, catches the corner smoothly and moves back up to third. Road Number One stands above the ruins of Qalunya: all history piled here.

He throttles at the end of the ramp, takes the inner lane, passing signs for The Old City, for Giv’at Ram. The highway is a scattershot of morning headlights.

He leans left and salmons his way out into the faster lane, toward the tunnels, the Separation Barrier, the town of Beit Jala. Two answers for one swerve: Gilo on one side, Bethlehem on the other.

Geography here is everything.

2

THIS ROAD LEADS TO AREA “A”
UNDER THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
THE ENTRANCE FOR ISRAELI
CITIZENS IS FORBIDDEN
DANGEROUS TO YOUR LIVES
AND IS AGAINST THE ISRAELI LAW

3

Five hundred million birds arc the sky over the hills of Beit Jala every year. They move by ancient ancestry: hoopoes, thrushes, flycatchers, warblers, cuckoos, starlings, shrikes, ruffs, northern wheatears, plovers, sunbirds, swifts, sparrows, nightjars, owls, gulls, hawks, eagles, kites, cranes, buzzards, sandpipers, pelicans, flamingos, storks, pied bushchats, griffon vultures, European rollers, Arabian babblers, bee-eaters, turtledoves, whitethroats, yellow wagtails, blackcaps, red-throated pipits, little bitterns.

It is the world’s second busiest migratory superhighway: at least four hundred different species of birds torrent through, riding different levels in the sky. Long vees of honking intent. Sole travelers skimming low over the grass.

Every year a new landscape appears underneath: Israeli settlements, Palestinian apartment blocks, rooftop gardens, barracks, barriers, bypass roads.

Some of the birds migrate at night to avoid predators, flying in their sidereal patterns, elliptic with speed, devouring their own muscles and intestines in flight. Others travel during the day to take advantage of the thermals rising from below, the warm wind lifting their wings so they can coast.

At times whole flocks block out the sun and daub shadows across Beit Jala: the fields, the steep terraces, the olive groves on the outskirts of town.

Lie down in the vineyard in the Cremisan monastery at any time of day and you can see the birds overhead, travelling in their talkative lanes.

They land on trees, telegraph poles, electricity cables, water towers, even the rim of the Wall, where they are a sometime target for the young stone throwers.

4

The ancient sling was made of a cradle of cowskin, the size of an eye-patch, pierced with small holes and held together with leather thongs. The slings were designed by shepherds to help scare away predatory animals from their roving flocks.

The pouch was held in the shepherd’s left hand, the cords in his right. Considerable practice was needed to operate it with accuracy. After placing a stone in the pad, the slingman pulled the thongs taut. He swung it wide above his head several times until the moment of natural release. The pouch opened and the stone flew. Some shepherds could hit a target the size of a jackal’s eye from two hundred paces.

The sling soon made its way into the art of warfare: its capacity to fire up a steep slope and battlement walls made it critical in assaults on fortified cities. Legions of long-range slingmen were employed. They wore full body armor and rode chariots piled with stone. When the territory became impassible—moats, trenches, dry desert gulches, steep embankments, boulders strewn across the roads—they descended and went on foot, ornamental bags slung over their shoulders. The deepest held up to two hundred small stones.

In preparation for battle it was common to paint at least one of the stones. The talisman was placed at the bottom of the bag when the slingman went to war, in the hope he would never reach his final stone.

5

At the edges of battle, children—eight, nine, ten years old—were enlisted to shoot birds from the sky. They waited by wadis, hid in desert bushes, fired stones from fortified walls. They shot turtledoves, quail, songbirds.

Some of the birds were captured still living. They were gathered up and put into wooden cages with their eyes gouged out so that they would be fooled into thinking that it was a permanent nighttime: then they would gorge themselves on grain for days on end.

Fattened to twice their flying size, they were baked in clay ovens, served with bread, olives and spices.

6

Eight days before he died, after a spectacular orgy of food, François Mitterrand, the French president, ordered a final course of ortolan, a tiny yellow-throated songbird no bigger than his thumb. The delicacy represented to him the soul of France.

Mitterrand’s staff supervised the capture of the wild birds in a village in the south. The local police were paid off, the hunting was arranged, and the birds were captured, at sunrise, in special finely threaded nets along the edge of the forest. The ortolans were crated and driven in a darkened van to Mitterrand’s country house in Latche where he had spent his childhood summers. The sous-chef emerged and carried the cages indoors. The birds were fed for two weeks until they were plump enough to burst, then held by their feet over a vat of pure Armagnac, dipped headfirst and drowned alive.

The head chef then plucked them, salted them, peppered them, and cooked them for seven minutes in their own fat before placing them in a freshly heated white cassole.

When the dish was served, the wood-paneled room—with Mitterrand’s family, his wife, his children, his mistress, his friends—fell silent. He sat up in his chair, pushed aside the blankets from his knees, took a sip from a bottle of vintage Château Haut-Marbuzet.

—The only interesting thing is to live, said Mitterrand.

He shrouded his head with a white napkin to inhale the aroma of the birds and, as tradition dictated, to hide the act from the eyes of God. He picked up the songbirds and ate them whole: the succulent flesh, the fat, the bitter entrails, the wings, the tendons, the liver, the kidney, the warm heart, the feet, the tiny headbones crunching in his teeth.

It took him several minutes to finish, his face hidden all the time under the white serviette. His family could hear the sounds of the bones snapping.

Mitterrand dabbed the napkin at his mouth, pushed aside the earthenware cassole, lifted his head, smiled, bid good night and rose to go to bed.

He fasted for the next eight and a half days until he died.

7

In Israel, the birds are tracked by sophisticated radar set up along the migratory routes all over the country—Eilat, Jerusalem, Latrun—with links to military installations and to the air traffic control offices at Ben Gurion airport.

The Ben Gurion offices are high-tech, dark-windowed. Banks of computers, radios, phones. A team of experts, trained in aviation and mathematics, tracks the patterns of flight: the size of the flocks, their pathways, their shape, their velocity, their height, their projected behavior in weather patterns, their possible response to crosswinds, siroccos, storms. Operators create algorithms and send out emergency warnings to the controllers and to the commercial airlines.

Another hotline is dedicated to the Air Force. Starlings at 1,000 feet north of Gaza Harbor, 31.52583°N, 34.43056°E. Forty-two thousand sandhill cranes roughly 750 feet over southern edge of Red Sea, 20.2802°N, 38.5126°E. Unusual flock movement east of Akko, Coast Guard caution, storm pending. Projected flock, Canada geese, east of Ben Gurion at 0200 hours, exact coordinates TBD. Pair of pharaoh eagle-owls reported in trees near helicopter landing pad B, south Hebron, 31.3200°N, 35.0542°E.

The ornithologists are busiest in autumn and spring when the large migrations are in full flow: at times their screens look like Rorschach tests. They liaise with bird-watchers on the ground, although a good tracker can intuit the type of bird just by the shape of the flock on the radar and the height at which it is coming in.

In military school, fighter pilots are trained in the intricate patterns of bird migration so they can avoid tailspins in what they call the plague zones. Everything matters: a large puddle near the runway might attract a flock of starlings; an oil patch might slicken the wings of a bird of prey, disorienting it; a forest fire might throw a flock of geese far off course.

In migratory seasons the pilots try not to travel for extended periods at lower than three thousand feet.

8

A swan can be as fatal to the pilot as a rocket-propelled grenade.

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Top reviews from the United States

Dean M. Pollock
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
False Advertising
Reviewed in the United States on March 18, 2020
I so wanted to love this book, and there was much to admire about it, but it was ultimately disappointing. Colum McCann is a brilliant writer - his "Let the Great World Spin" is as good as anything written in the past 20 years. Apeirogon: defined as a shape with... See more
I so wanted to love this book, and there was much to admire about it, but it was ultimately disappointing. Colum McCann is a brilliant writer - his "Let the Great World Spin" is as good as anything written in the past 20 years.

Apeirogon: defined as a shape with a countably infinite number of sides, approaching but not reaching a circle. The premise of this book is a nuanced depiction of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; infirnite ways of examining the situation in order to foster understanding of the many points of view.

The book is beautifully written, almost more poetry than prose. The structure of the book reflects the title and the the subject matter. It is divided into 1001 chapters/chapterlets of varying length, some only a line or two. The chapters are in no particular order - but ultimately describe a whole. They are on often seemingly unrelated topics: the migration and types of birds, the building of the pulpit in the Dome of the Rock, the exploration ot the River Jordan in the early 1800''s, and of course chapters that further the story line. By the end it all makes sense. The use of words is beautiful, almost ethereal. I learned some new ones, besides Apeirogon. Satyagraha (passive political resistance as practiced by Gandhi), Clepsydra (a water clock), etc.

And the story was uplifting, wonderful - like a fragrant flower growing out of a dung heap. Two men - Rami, a seventh generation Israeli and Bassam, a Palestinian who formerly spent seven years in jail for "terrorism" - each have young daughters murdered by the other side. Rami''s daughter Smadar is blown up by a Palestinian suicide bomber during the second Intifada. And Bassam''s daughter Abir is shot in the head with a rubber bullet during a "demonstration" by an Israeli soldier. Somehow the men are able to each find forgiveness for the other side. They form a friendship and spend their lives helping people find the ability to forgive, to empathise, to move forward. Through organizations such as the Parents Circle Family and Combatants of Peace, they foster acceptance and redemption.

The problem I had with this book, and the strongest criticism that can be made of a book like this, is that it is one-dimensional. Fault is always Israeli. Obviously the little girl getting shot is a brutal over-reaction by the Israeli teen-aged soldier. But also the Israeli father, whose daughter is blown up by the Palestinian, holds only Israel to blame. It is the Occupation, always the Occupation, the Preoccupation with the Occupation. The Palestinians are only the oppressed, never at fault.

In a book that purports to describe the infinite sides of a complex issue, there is never a mention of any Jewish right to a homeland. Thousands of years of Jewish history in and around Jerusalem, well before Mohammed, are never talked about. Only side references to the Holocaust, and no mention of a long history of persecution (that just might justify the need for a homeland), never a word about the accomplishments of the Israelis in making the desert bloom, increasing the prosperity and health and freedom for both Jews and Arabs who reside in Israel. Nothing about the contributions to technology making the world a better place, or the Jewish support championing the various causes of the oppressed world-wide. No mention of the Hamas charter to destroy Israel, or the BDS movement to delegitimize and ultimately eliminate Israel as its own nation.

Israel is by no means perfect. A small nation, surrounded by enemies, with a history of brutal persecution around the world, that struggles to stay alive. Struggles to reconcile a Homeland for a religious group with the principles of Democracy. Struggles to do the right thing, while allowing itself to continue to exist.

Apeirogon is a good but not great book. It depicts the Palestinian viewpoint beautifully with nuance and great sympathy. Not so the Israeli. Ultimately it is too one-dimensional to live up to its ambitions (or at least this reader''s ambitions for it).
205 people found this helpful
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Sallie Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Abir and Smadar
Reviewed in the United States on March 1, 2020
The author has said this book is a hybrid. If so, it''s a cross between a dragon and a dove. Two murdered young girls, Abir and Smadar, are at the center of a kaleidoscope, a swirl of fragmented yet connected experience and brilliant color, of the fragility and... See more
The author has said this book is a hybrid. If so, it''s a cross between a dragon and a dove.

Two murdered young girls, Abir and Smadar, are at the center of a kaleidoscope, a swirl of fragmented yet connected experience and brilliant color, of the fragility and power of children, of the fragility and power of birds (one swan, we are told, can take out an airplane), of the powers of art, the heart-leap of daring in the face of annihilation. Of the grief of two fathers, who are real living people on opposing sides of a hideous war over a tiny strip of land. Against that war, they form "The Parents Circle." The requirements for membership? A dead child and the will to speak. What can you do when your child dies?

This book is about what they do, their struggle to understand and yet to survive. It''s about the struggle of birds, likewise, to fly, to survive. Of writers to illuminate, of painters to portray, so that something may survive. Of inventors to make weapons, of young soldiers to try not to die.

By page twenty, you will loathe your species for its atrocities against living flesh and spirit; you will see what a rubber bullet can do to a child''s skull. (You might even retrieve it use it to kill again.) How Semtex can paint a town square red. And what the clean-up crew must do to erase the atrocity. What exploding bats and burning babies and roasted larks (because the world belongs to all creatures) can do to your mind. You can''t stand it! But you can''t put it down.

Then by page 50 or 60 - no, you are not inured to torment, but you will begin to find a breath of air, a bit of oxygen in the struggle, in memory, in shared grief. One of the fathers has a motorcycle, and I found myself relieved at the movement of the handle bars, the unevenness of the pavement. Lulling for a moment.

And when at last the book has folded you completely inside itself, you may come to love what it says we can be and do, what artists and thinkers and children and birds have been and have done, and go on being and doing. Forgiveness is impossible. But hope is within our grasp.

This book has the greatness of spirit I found in books as a child, but this one is for adults who want to love the lived-in world the way children, even in dire circumstances, seem able to do. To be able to sleep on the wing, like the frigatebird, to help our neighbor in the midst of a firefall. We want to, but we need an anchor, a guide to take us through the burning cities and forests and oceans around us.

"Epic"? What a cop-out. "Ambitious"? What is that but a sneer? Better just to say this is a book that is wholly itself, in which every word is right and rightly placed. It is as perfect as the falconer''s hawks it describes. As potent as the Picasso dove that figures so often in its pages.
80 people found this helpful
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Dr.Tort
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Compelling Read for Thoughtful Readers
Reviewed in the United States on February 27, 2020
This is a remarkable retelling of the tragic, violent, senseless deaths of two innocent people—a young Palestinian school girl killed by Israeli soldiers and a young female Israeli soldier killed by Palestinian suicide bombers. Even though we know the outcome after the... See more
This is a remarkable retelling of the tragic, violent, senseless deaths of two innocent people—a young Palestinian school girl killed by Israeli soldiers and a young female Israeli soldier killed by Palestinian suicide bombers. Even though we know the outcome after the first couple of pages we are compelled to read on. When we try to put the book aside we are drawn back to it.
The author tells his story in a neutral, even handed, matter of fact tone. Though sometimes detached he is never indifferent. It is a story told in a thousand fragmented chapters: a fact here and a fact there, an observation, some historical background, seemingly unrelated subject matters, followed by a rumination, a quotation and an extended introspective dissertation. More facts, more background, more information. We get to know their families. We learn of the broader context in which such senseless acts can and continue to take place.
Every word is important. None are irrelevant. Each word, each sentence, each paragraph is carefully and thoughtfully introduced at just the right place, just the right time to create a larger mosaic of humanity.
The story has many facets. It is about humanity and inhumanity, good and evil, where real people make real choices which have real-life consequences.
This is more than a remarkable book. It is is a brilliant, creative achievement by the author and a wonderful gift for any thoughtful reader.
60 people found this helpful
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A Reader
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Less a novel than deconstructed reportage of fact
Reviewed in the United States on March 1, 2020
A lot will be written about McCann''s new book (I hesitate to call it a novel). Today, a rave review in the NY Times, less impressed reviews elsewhere. I fall somewhere in between. The heart of the story, the reality of it, the pain, love and loss, is very moving. The... See more
A lot will be written about McCann''s new book (I hesitate to call it a novel). Today, a rave review in the NY Times, less impressed reviews elsewhere. I fall somewhere in between. The heart of the story, the reality of it, the pain, love and loss, is very moving. The structure is clever, bordering on self-consciously irritating. It is not told in chapters; rather, there are 1001 image fragments (referring to The Thousand and One Arabian Nights), with avian metaphors and other seemingly unrelated (and yet related) tangents. It''s told in shards, in slivers (many ''chapters'' are one or two sentences long). Images repeat, sometimes to a flattening effect. It is factual and distanced, at times almost put-down-able. But then you read the first-hand account of and by two fathers grieving the deaths of their daughters, and tears flood the eyes. It''s an intimate, birds-eye view of life in Israel, for both Israelis and Palestinians who share a common threat, and in that way can feel profound. I just don''t know about the self-conscious, super fragmented, hyper-stylized storytelling, which seems more about McCann than about these men, or their daughters, or anyone living in a war zone.
32 people found this helpful
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C.A.Wesdorp
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Maybe the notes for a good book?
Reviewed in the United States on October 23, 2020
I really tried hard to enjoy it but couldn''t. I am somewhat related to the topic through my Israeli family so quite intrigued by the theme. However, it read like the -rather lengthy and cluttered- notes on the various topics that may come to support a great story. I gave... See more
I really tried hard to enjoy it but couldn''t. I am somewhat related to the topic through my Israeli family so quite intrigued by the theme. However, it read like the -rather lengthy and cluttered- notes on the various topics that may come to support a great story. I gave up....
It seems you have to choose for experimental formats to make it to some of the literary longlists. This was one that didn''t work for me..
8 people found this helpful
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C.J. Lang
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Love the authors writing style. An interesting perspective
Reviewed in the United States on September 13, 2020
Having spent time in Israel and Palestine, it is interesting to read the juxtapositions between the characters and the suffering that can happen to some of the innocents caught up in between the conflicts that exist. the book is one perspective. In order to understand the... See more
Having spent time in Israel and Palestine, it is interesting to read the juxtapositions between the characters and the suffering that can happen to some of the innocents caught up in between the conflicts that exist. the book is one perspective. In order to understand the conflict, one must spend time in Israel and observe and talk to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Ironically they have many differing opinions and are not monolithic in their thinking according to their race or religion. The incredible cultural difference and the history of land and locations that hold meaning for those who live there hold complexities that are very difficult for westerners to understand. this book inlayers some of those. Worth reading, but read many more and be careful about going into your exploration with an agenda. Things that started with Abraham thousands of year ago and expanded with Christ and then with Muhammed and then with the conquering powers like the Turks and so ,Amy empires from the Romans, Persians etc. make for something complex and fascinating.
2 people found this helpful
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R1Z2
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Perfect Title
Reviewed in the United States on March 4, 2021
An apieregon is a generalized polygon with a countably infinite number of sides and is a perfect metaphor for the Palestinian-Israeli situation, the basis of this magnificent novel by Colum Mc Cann. The book centers around two men, a Palestinian and an Israeli , both who... See more
An apieregon is a generalized polygon with a countably infinite number of sides and is a perfect metaphor for the Palestinian-Israeli situation, the basis of this magnificent novel by Colum Mc Cann. The book centers around two men, a Palestinian and an Israeli , both who have lost children to the violence in that part of the world. It is a novel of incredible sadness and grief displayed by two fathers who meet and form a bond to go anywhere and everywhere speaking of their grief and the need for some solution to the ongoing violence. Interspersed with their personal stories are amazing vignettes of facts and descriptions of events which take the reader into the many sides of the issues and lifestyles of these two so different cultures. This novel makes it onto my list of favorite books of the last 10 years.
2 people found this helpful
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openmypages
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Apeirogon
Reviewed in the United States on August 13, 2020
"It slowly dawned on Bassam that the only thing they had in common was that both sides had once wanted to kill people they did not know." "I can say this now, I could never even think it then - it was the first time that I''d met Palestinians as human beings... -... See more
"It slowly dawned on Bassam that the only thing they had in common was that both sides had once wanted to kill people they did not know."

"I can say this now, I could never even think it then - it was the first time that I''d met Palestinians as human beings... - yes, human beings who carry the same burden that I carry, people who suffer exactly as I suffer. An equality of pain."

---------------------------------------------

This is a beautiful story of two destroyed lives on opposite sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both men have lost their daughters to violence and have come from places of anger to fight for peace. The story is told in odd little chapters, many of which use heavy metaphors for the occupation. Overall, I thought the message was powerful but for me I preferred the chapters where the story was told more linearly. You will want to be in the right mood as this is a beautiful, atmospheric read but is full of pain and heavy topics.
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Top reviews from other countries

M. Dowden
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Masterpiece
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 26, 2020
Make no mistake about it this book is a masterpiece and just looking at the structure alone will make you realise the complexity of and the thought that has gone into this. Although this book should do well with a number of people, there will still be a fair amount who will...See more
Make no mistake about it this book is a masterpiece and just looking at the structure alone will make you realise the complexity of and the thought that has gone into this. Although this book should do well with a number of people, there will still be a fair amount who will hate this. If you think about it a lot of people do not like Anna Burns’s novel Milkman, or George Saunders’s novel Lincoln in the Bardo, and if you look at reviews on this site you will see that the most prominent reason, although most people will not admit it, is that they simply do not understand them and are reading books that are above their capacity. If you think about it you cannot enjoy Milkman if you voted for Brexit, because you obviously want all the troubles to start escalating again. Therefore if you cannot understand either of those relatively recent books this will be of no interest to you, as you will not appreciate let alone understand this book, and possibly the same could apply if you do not know what an apeirogon is. This novel then incorporates two tales, one of an Israeli father who lost his child in a suicide bombing, the other a Palestinian father who lost his child due to a rubber bullet fired by Israeli forces. This is the basic plot of the tale, two men who come together after the tragic deaths of their children through an organisation. We read of their histories and that of their children, and also many other things, such as the history of the area where this mainly takes place, the flora and fauna, the problems that are faced and trying to be addressed, some of the similar problems faced elsewhere, such as Northern Ireland, and so much more. As a simple linear tale of the two men this would have been good enough, but what Colum McCann has done here has taken something and with a certain ambitious and experimental way made this so much more. The observations here are magnificent as well as the structure, which I have already mentioned, meaning that arguably you can start this book on any chapter and read it from there reading all the 1001 chapters, as you will have all the tale but in a different construct. With the author never making judgements, but letting the story tell itself so we are all reminded of the many problems and challenges around the world, that have been caused by us as a species, ones that were in some cases created with good intentions, but have steered off course, to more deliberate and grasping acts. This shows us such a side of life that many never even contemplate, and at the same time shows how in the grand scheme of things many problems are quite recent, and they need understanding and a will to change and compromise on all sides for a difference and a better way of life if peace is to be achieved. I would like to say that perhaps this book could make a difference, but it will not because those who need to read it and understand it do not actually have the intelligence or capacity to understand it. With some chapters only a sentence long, some photos and even a couple of blank ones you never really know what is going to be thrown at you next. This is very much a book for those who love reading good literature because they can appreciate and understand it.
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Adam
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fragments of Perfection
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 7, 2020
I''ve written this review in numbered fragments as a homage to the novel itself. 1 The title of Colum McCann’s novel, longlisted for the Booker Prize, may be pronounced | əˈpʌɪɹəɡən |. Or it could be | əˈpɪəɹəɡən |. Perhaps even | əˈpeɪɹəɡən |. Americans, meanwhile, are...See more
I''ve written this review in numbered fragments as a homage to the novel itself. 1 The title of Colum McCann’s novel, longlisted for the Booker Prize, may be pronounced | əˈpʌɪɹəɡən |. Or it could be | əˈpɪəɹəɡən |. Perhaps even | əˈpeɪɹəɡən |. Americans, meanwhile, are likely to pronounce the word entirely differently. 2 IPA, an abbreviation of the International Phonetic Alphabet, is an internationally recognized set of phonetic symbols widely used in quality dictionaries. It was developed in the late 19th century and enables users to replicate sounds from any language based on a unique symbol for each sound. The word apple is rendered | ˈæpəl | and is pronounced not too dissimilarly in British and American English. 3 Essentially, Apeirogon is a circadian novel with a very straightforward plot line. In the morning, two friends, one Israeli and one Palestinian, travel from different directions to a rendezvous at the Cremisan Monastery near Beit Jala, about five kilometres from Bethlehem in the West Bank, then they travel back to their separate homes in the evening. 4 The word Amazon is rendered | ˈæməzən | but is pronounced dissimilarly in American English as | ˈæməˌzɑn |. 5 Circadian, pronounced | səːˈkeɪdɪən |, is a word coined in the 1950s, formed from the Latin words for about and day. In literature, it is applied to texts set within one 24 hour period or slightly less. Famous novels to have used the circadian form include Ulysses by James Joyce and Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. 11 Although this is a novel, the men are real. Rami Elhanan is a former Israeli soldier whose daughter Smadar was killed by Palestinian suicide bombers. Bassam Aramin was convicted of attacking Israeli troops with hand grenades, and years later his daughter Abir was killed by an Israeli soldier who shot a rubber bullet at the back of her head. Their tragedies occurred in 1997 and 2007 respectively. The politics and the geography of their lives are complex, as are their backstories. Even though the men strive for peace, travelling the world together to tell audiences about their losses, it seems their grief is still raw and powerful. According to the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, the book is too painful for either Rami or Bassam to finish reading. What Colum McCann has brought to this story is an inventive narrative structure. Inspired by, amongst other things, a Philip Glass opera and the famous tales of Scheherazade, the book comprises 1,001 numbered fragments ranging from a couple of words to several pages in length. Some refer to Rami and Bassam and their families; some to the broader political situation and the history of the conflict in Israel and Palestine; some to seemingly incidental topics, notably birds and eyes and later water and sound; some are pictorial; two are simply blank spaces. The fragments count up to 500, then comes 1,001, then down again from 500. If this sounds gimmicky, it isn’t. What is evident, from the way the narrative and the characters are meticulously constructed out of these disparate fragments into multi-dimensional lives in the reader’s mind, is that McCann has brought a supreme clarity of vision and perfect lucidity of prose to his telling of these profound interconnected stories. 5 It may be politically unpopular, in 2020, to say a middle-aged white man is the outsider. One school of thought is that all writers are outsiders. But in this context, that is a fact. From his vantage point as an Irish-American, McCann presents both his Israeli and Palestinian protagonists in a balanced – though by no means dispassionate – way, giving them approximately equal page time. He invests both Rami and Bassam with immense dignity. Like the other major contender for this year’s Booker Prize, Hilary Mantel, the novelist has chosen to focus outwards, not on his own cultural concerns. A journalist can take aspects of their own life and fictionalise it, but a great novelist is selfless and magnanimous. They can dedicate months or even years to the immense task of giving voice to characters half a world away from their lived experiences. McCann, in writing this book, is living out the message of Rami and Bassam: only by learning about one another’s humanity can we bring about peace in the world. 4 "I was fascinated by the region because, frankly, I knew so little about it and had no skin in the game — I’m not Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, or Palestinian. I come from an Irish Catholic background. I do come from a background of war and trauma, but it’s entirely different." —Colum McCann 3 If this sounds gimmicky, it isn’t. 2 The fragments did, however, feel trite at times. The 450-page novel could probably have been shaved down to 400 without significant loss of impact. One of the more dubious aspects of the text was the inclusion of what purported to be real transcripts as spoken by Rami and Bassam. These take up fragment 500 (on the way up) and 500 (on the way down), and form a sizeable chunk in the middle of the book. Whilst admirable insofar as these transcripts gave voice to two courageous men and to their grief, the effect was undeniably repetitious. Being able to see, quite clearly, where McCann had drawn his content and the characters’ thoughts and feelings that were better shown elsewhere in the fictionalised bulk of the book sadly diminished the mystery that surrounds the job of a novelist. 1 In its scope, this novel was reminiscent of certain previous Booker Prize winners. The precise character observation within a broader historical sweep reminded me of both Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally and The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, while the exploration of religion and race called to mind one of my favourite books The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson. But Apeirogon was truly unique, a masterpiece in its own right. If all the longlisted books demonstrate such exquisite craft, I’m in for a great few weeks of reading.
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Donny Rock
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An awkward read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 30, 2020
Here we have a good and interesting read fragmented and lost in a surfeit of irrelevant information. The need to search for the chronology of the incidents and the aftermaths makes this a very cumbersome read. Why the author couldn''t just tell the story in a linear fashion...See more
Here we have a good and interesting read fragmented and lost in a surfeit of irrelevant information. The need to search for the chronology of the incidents and the aftermaths makes this a very cumbersome read. Why the author couldn''t just tell the story in a linear fashion and shed all the extraneous data is beyond me. What happened to beginning, middle and end?
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sleepyteagirl
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautiful, tragic and wonderful story of pain, loss, life and hope
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 16, 2020
(Spoiler Alert!) Well. Well, well, what a tremendous, beautiful, tragic and wonderful story of pain, loss, life and hope. How is this not on the shortlist ! Whilst the title of the book aims to convey a near-infinite number of sides (to the telling of a story). The book...See more
(Spoiler Alert!) Well. Well, well, what a tremendous, beautiful, tragic and wonderful story of pain, loss, life and hope. How is this not on the shortlist ! Whilst the title of the book aims to convey a near-infinite number of sides (to the telling of a story). The book focuses on telling the true story of two men, a Palestinian Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan an Israeli on opposite sides of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict who find each other in the “Combatants for Peace” group which seems to be both a support group for those who have suffered in the conflict and also a group that campaigns for peace. Both men’s daughters are victims of accidental killings in the conflict. Rami’s daughter is killed in the blast from a suicide bomber and Bassam’s daughter is killed by a rubber bullet fired by Israeli border police. Here, sharing their stories of the loss of their children they form a friendship through their shared grief and go on to travel the world to tell their story, demonstrating that there can be peace between the two sides and preaching a message of hope. This story is good enough alone but the book interjects many facts about birds, migration and about the region to augment the story telling. These asides weave into the telling so that the ‘story’ of the two men’s lives and experiences, the tragedies, violence and torture is both somehow removed and included in a collection of facts. This style of the inclusion of short paragraphs of statements/ facts temporarily removes the reader from the narrative to provide an alternative view and insight. It also has the benefit of allowing the reader to take a step back from some of the violence, emotion and loss in the story which allows you to “enjoy” the book. Sometimes I am guilty of skipping parts of a story which I find particularly distasteful or violent but these temporary pauses helped me through the journey so that when I finally read the sadness and death that I knew was coming, I was ready for it and found it very moving without feeling the need to brush past these sections to ‘get to back the story’. I thought it was a beautiful story of what it might mean to understand the history of another who is supposed to be your enemy and the nerd in me loved all the facts and side stories which some people might find distracting. I can’t believe this didn’t make the shortlist.
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David Douglas
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Insightful and exciting
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2020
One of the most appropriately named books I''ve ever had the pleasure to read. He has approached this masterpiece in such an original way that made every page / side an insightful and exciting read. One of the best books I''ve ever read about one of the world''s most difficult...See more
One of the most appropriately named books I''ve ever had the pleasure to read. He has approached this masterpiece in such an original way that made every page / side an insightful and exciting read. One of the best books I''ve ever read about one of the world''s most difficult circumstances.
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