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by Colum Mccann

Literary Fiction

Apeirogon Synopsis


The novel of a lifetime about two men and their daughters: divided by conflict, yet united in grief.

Rami Elhanan and Bassam Aramin live near one another - yet they exist worlds apart. Rami is Israeli. Bassam is Palestinian. Rami's license plate is yellow. Bassam's license plate is green. It takes Rami fifteen minutes to drive to the West Bank. The same journey for Bassam takes an hour and a half.

Both men have lost their daughters. Rami's thirteen-year-old girl Smadar was killed by a suicide bomber while out shopping with her friends. Bassam's ten-year-old daughter Abir was shot and killed by a member of the border police outside her school. There was a candy bracelet in her pocket she hadn't had time to eat yet.

The men become the best of friends.

In this epic novel - named for a shape with a countably infinite number of sides - Colum McCann crosses centuries and continents, stitching time, art, history, nature and politics into a tapestry of friendship, love, loss and belonging. Musical, muscular, delicate and soaring, Apeirogon is the novel for our times. 

Apeirogon Press Reviews

Nothing like any book you've ever read ... Think of discovering an entirely unprecedented, and profoundly true, narrative form. Think about feeling that the very idea of the novel, of what it can be and what it's capable of containing, has been expanded, forever ... All I can really tell you is, read McCann's book. It's an important book -- MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM

Now you have to read Apeirogon ... Delirious and thrilling, spectacular - Sunday Times

Weaves documentary and imagination into its tough physical fabric . .. Frequently beautiful ... Often dazzles ... At the core of this fractal fiction is a simple, radiant myth: The hero makes a friend of his enemy - Economist

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 - New York Times Book Review

A profound account of pain and healing ... The closest recent comparisons - in terms of ambition and intention, if not style - might be Claudia Rankine's genre defying works on race such as Citizen: An American Lyric or Maggie Nelson's exploration in The Red Parts and Jane: A Murder of the murder of her aunt, books that transcend the usual categories and set out to challenge and amaze - Guardian

A jagged, fractured, teeming novel ... Apeirogon is a daring structural feat, a conspicuously elaborate and multivalent piece of novelistic engineering ... The distilled and fractured form has a glistening poetry - Times Literary Supplement

An apeirogon is a shape with a countably infinite number of sides - and Colum McCann's transcendent book is full of hundreds of thought-provoking, emotional segments ... McCann turns these haunting true stories into engrossing fiction, and he does so with poetic power -

In the spirit of Picasso's Guernica, Apeirogon reminds us that such incandescent art evokes humility and light in the face of oppression and loss - O Magazine

A loving, thoughtful, grueling novel - Washington Post

Powerful novel about the shared grief of a Palestinian and Israeli - Sunday Times, Books of 2020

The tale of a friendship between an Israeli and a Palestinian ... Composed of 1,001 chapters, it has won effusive praise from early readers - New Statesman

Colum McCann seems to shape-shift with each new book; Apeirogon examines the friendship between Israeli and Palestinian fathers who have each lost children to the conflict - Financial Times, 2020 visions: the year ahead in books

His most ambitious work yet, chronicling the human cost of the Israeli Palestinian conflict in a tale of love and loss that crosses fiction and non-fiction - RTE Guide

A novel inspired by a true story about two men - one Israeli and one Palestinian - who both lost daughters in the conflict and who form an unexpected friendship - Scotsman

McCann's epic, involving novel follows the slow-blooming friendship between two men, an Israeli and a Palestinian, linked by the loss of their daughters - i paper

The advance word on this novel suggests a level of ambition we may not have encountered yet from the Dublin native. It explores the Palestine-Israel conflict through the unlikely friendship of two men from either side - Irish Examiner, 20 Books for 2020

A work that is both spectacularly inventive and grounded in brutal fact. It is about grief and forgiveness, about family and politics. If you can read it without sobbing, you're a monster -- Alex Preston - Observer, Books of 2020

McCann's epic involving novel follows the slow-blooming friendship between two men, an Israeli and Palestinian, linked by the loss of their daughters -- Sarah Hughes - i, Books of 2020

A glorious storytelling hybrid ... Apeirogon is a brilliant novel, formally intriguing, profoundly human --

A masterpiece of characterisation and subtle political commentary --

Teeming with gorgeous prose; a sweeping look at the paradoxical relationship between history and private life; a penetrating examination of the deficiencies and marvels of the human spirit ... Propulsive, muscular, swerving through details of life - real and imagined - with urgency, borne along on prose that is some of McCann's finest, fully displaying his powers as a storyteller of just about supernatural ability. This book will break your heart and make you rethink how storytelling works -- TEA OBREHT

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

Distinguished by empathy and intelligence, this book marks a new threshold of writing ... Apeirogon will have a strong effect on all those who read it and, remarkably, could lead to great consequences for the future of this place. Sometimes books can do this -- RAJA SHEHADAH

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. It is greater than a novel in more than one sense, and will both touch and enrich readers, wherever they live and whatever they know about the region -- ASSAF GAVRON

Colum McCann loves a high-wire act, and Apeirogon is a powerful, political tightrope walk of a novel. It's the story of modern Israel and the story of modern Palestine. This beautiful, deeply felt book is first and foremost an extraordinary act of listening -- NATHAN ENGLANDER

Distinguished by empathy and intelligence, this book marks a new threshold of writing ... Apeirogon will have a strong effect on all those who read it and, remarkably, could lead to great consequences for the future ... Sometimes books can do this -- RAJA SHEHADAH

The latest novel from the National Book Award winner blends fiction with history to examine how two men channel their grief into political power as they become advocates for peace in the Middle East - TIME Magazine

What a marvel of a book! Wise, complex and timely. A magnificent achievement -- GRAHAM NORTON -

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781526607904
Publication date: 25/02/2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781526607904
Publication date: 25th February 2020
Author: Colum Mccann
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 480 pages
Genres: Literary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Colum Mccann

Colum McCann was born in Dublin in 1965. His fiction has won numerous international awards including the Rooney Prize, the Ireland Fund of Monaco Princess Grace Memorial Award, a Pushcart Prize, and Esquire magazine's Writer of the Year award in 2003. In 2005 he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Film. He was recently inducted into the Hennessy Hall of Fame in Dublin. His work has been published in twenty-six languages. He has travelled widely and is based in New York, where he lives with his wife and children.

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