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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Apeirogon by Colum McCann

Apeirogon builds to show how individuals on opposite sides of the Israel-Palestine wall are at heart the same.

This is beautiful, powerful, illuminating, and heart-wrenching. I admit that I had trouble getting through the first part, but I'm so very glad I stuck with it.

I had some trouble adjusting to the pacing of the book; it's structured into 1,001 short segments in varied points of view: a Palestinian father, his family, and their experiences and loss; an Israeli father and family and his tragedy; migratory and other habits of birds; newspaper headlines, legal proceedings, and public speeches related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflicts; retracing in detail crucial moments of two especially fateful days in the fathers' (who become friends) lives; bullet manufacturing details and imagined life details of soldiers; and more.

But the sections all work together, and the book serves as both a sweeping look at an enormously complex issue with endless personal implications for those involved *and* a microscope-level examination of the events that came to define everything for these two seemingly different but ultimately heartbreakingly similar families.

The story builds to show how individuals on opposite sides of the issue and of the wall are at heart the very same--through their unspeakable loss, desire for revenge, search for meaning, haunting memories, search to educate others, and obsession with speaking the names of those lost to keep them alive in hearts and minds and to illustrate the devastating personal effects of the political situation. It's 480 pages, and ultimately that felt like an appropriate length for settling into the points of view and experiences that are built over a lifetime, and which resonate and illuminate here. The subject matter is weighty and emotional, and McCann manages to make the story both personal and political, which perfectly suits the subject matter. Really a wonderful book. I love McCann's thoughtful writing.

Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley provided me with a prepublication copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What did you think?

The 1,001 sections might sound more overwhelming than they actually feel; I thought they were beautifully interwoven.

McCann is also the author of Let the Great World Spin, which I liked, but not as much as I did this book.


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