Apeirogon: A Novel (Hardcover)
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“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
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.
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.
“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 Going Home: A Walk Through Fifty Years of Occupation
“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
“This is a wondrous book. In an accretion of splendid detail, Colum 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, author of Olive, Again
“Devotees of Colum McCann will find Apeirogon teeming with everything they have come to expect from his work: 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. This book will break your heart and make you rethink how storytelling works.”—Téa Obreht, author of Inland
“Every signiﬁcant novel is an act of reckless originality. Apeirogon is 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.”—Michael Cunningham, author of The Snow Queen
“This beautiful, deeply felt book is first and foremost an extraordinary act of listening.”—Nathan Englander, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
“A soaring, ambitious triumph . . . deeply nuanced and sensitive . . . a remarkable achievement . . . McCann’s latest novel may be his finest yet.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[A] masterful novel . . . Balancing its dazzling intellectual breadth with moments of searing intimacy, this is a transformative vision of a historic conflict and a triumph of the novelist’s art.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)