From the National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic, comes a novella and three stories of immediate power and grace
A story in this collection has been longlisted for the Sunday Times EFG short story award
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.
It is a cold day in January when J. Mendelssohn wakes in his Upper East Side apartment. Old and frail, he is entirely reliant on the help of his paid carer, and as he waits for the heating to come on, the clacking of the pipes stirs memories of the past; of his childhood in Lithuania and Dublin, of his distinguished career as a judge, and of his late wife, Eileen. Later he leaves the house to meet his son Elliot for lunch, and when Eliot departs mid-meal, Mendelssohn continues eating alone as the snow falls heavily outside.
Moments after he leaves the restaurant he is brutally attacked. The detectives working on the case search through the footage of Mendelssohn's movements, captured by cameras in his home and on the street. Their work is like that of a poet: the search for a random word that, included at the right instance, will suddenly make sense of everything.
Told from a multitude of perspectives, in lyrical, hypnotic prose, Thirteen Ways of Looking is a ground-breaking novella of true resonance. Accompanied by three equally powerful stories set in Afghanistan, Galway and London, this is a tribute to humanity's search for meaning and grace, from a writer at the height of his form, capable of imagining immensities even in the smallest corners of our lives.
About the Author
Colum McCann, originally from Dublin, Ireland, is the author of six novels and three collections of stories. His most recent novel, TransAtlantic, was longlisted for the Man Booker 2013, and his previous novel, Let the Great World Spin, won the National Book Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was a New York Times bestseller. His fiction has been published in thirty-five languages. He lives in New York.
A superbly crafted and deeply moving collection of fiction...underscores [McCann's] reputation as a contemporary master Kirkus Separate and together, these four works prove McCann a master with a poet's ear, a psychologist's understanding, and a humanitarian's conscience Publishers Weekly
Quite simply one of the best, most sustained pieces of fiction I've read in some time ... A novel of true resonance and power Independent on Transatlantic
Beautifully hypnotic ... Those who can't see the point of historical novels will find their answer here -- Emma Donoghue, author of Room
Expertly constructed ... The prose is poetically vivid Observer
Colum McCann is a very gifted, charming writer; in full, rhapsodic-onrush mode, he is hard to resist ... TransAtlantic is deft, well crafted, and broad in its imaginative range Guardian
Crime and violence shadow the accompanying stories, told from viewpoints including those of a nun recalling the man who raped and tortured her in South America decades earlier, and an author trying to write about a female soldier in Afghanistan Observer
Like all the best books, Colum McCann's latest ... is about time. Over the course of a novella and three short stories he probes our shifting relationship with it ...It's in the flawless opening novella, which gives the collection its title, that McCann really lets loose ... Thirteen Ways of Looking is a detective story turned inside out ... "Sometimes it seems to me," he says in a note at the end, "that we are writing our lives in advance, but at other times we can only ever look back." In this superlative collection, which surely ranks among his finest work, he manages to express both possibilities at once Sunday Telegraph