“The exquisitely crafted stories in Anthony Doerr’s acclaimed debut collection take readers from the African coast to the pine forests of Montana to the damp moors of Lapland, charting a vast physical and emotional landscape.
Doerr explores the human condition in all its varieties-metamorphosis, grief, fractured relationships, and slowly mending hearts-and conjures nature in both its beautiful abundance and crushing power.
Some of his characters contend with tremendous hardship; some discover unique gifts; all are united by their ultimate deference to the mysteries of the universe outside themselves.” ~Goodreads
These eight short stories from Anthony Doerr are some of the best I have ever read! How’s that for an endorsement?! After I read and loved All the Light We Cannot See, I had to check out this guy’s backlist. Glad I did.
Seriously, though. If you are not a fan of short stories because they can be confusing, leave you hanging, feel more choppy than the continuous-ness of a full novel, I get it. I’ve read some of those too. Fun, frivolous, sometimes a fantastical escape? I actually enjoy those as well. What can I say, I’m a huge fan of short stories and always on the lookout for an author who writes a collection to devour.
This one is impressive.
Like the synopsis from Goodreads, Doerr’s stories take place all over the world and focus on relationships and the human condition but all include another major character – nature. It felt like in each story the main character was first in love with nature before another person came into the picture to break them up. A love triangle between two people and the environment. So these all have A LOT of science jargon and obsessions with nature, the environment, animals and surprise-shells. He also writes the stories in a way that feel like myths but if you’re not much of a science geek, you might want to pass.
If you’ve given up on shorts, I encourage you to try again with this collection. Each and every one is written with such beauty and depth that instead of putting the book down between each one, I read straight through over several days. I was captivated and didn’t want to stop at one. The nice thing about this collection is that you can just read one, put the book down and continue on with your novel. The stories are not connected and do not have to be read in order. They all stand alone and are complete. No weird endings that stop abruptly. If you are still not convinced, I urge you to read the last story “Mkondo” at least. It’s gorgeous and still lingers in my mind.