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The Shell Collector
ANTHONY DOERR

The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr
23 reviews (2002) (224p)
ALA Notable Books - Fiction Finalist

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Book Description
A remarkable collection of stories from a young American writer of huge potential: 'A show-stopping debut, as close to faultless as any writer could wish for' Los Angeles Times 'His fingers dug the shell up, he felt the sleek egg of its body, the toothy gap of its aperture. It was the most elegant thing he'd ever held. "That's a mouse cowry," the doctor said. "A lovely find. It has brown spots, and darker stripes at its base, like tiger stripes. You can't see it, can you?" But he could. He'd never seen anything so clearly in his life.' In this assured, exquisite debut, Anthony Doerr takes readers from the African coast to the suburbs of Ohio, from sideshow pageantry to harsh wilderness survival, conjuring nature in both its beautiful abundance and its crushing power. The blind hero of the title story spends his days roaming the beaches of Kenya, his fingers ploughing through sandy granules of grace and intrigue, his German shepherd at his side. And then there are whale-watchers and fishermen, hunters and mystics, living lives uncompleted or undone, caught, memorably, as they turn toward the reader. A natural storyteller, Doerr explores the human dilemma in all its manifestations: longing, grief, indecision, heartbreak and slow, slow recuperation. Shimmering with elegance and invention, The Shell Collector is an enchanting and imaginative book by a young writer just setting off on what will surely be a hugely compelling literary odyssey.


Amazon.com Review
The whorls, chambers, and ribs of the seashell are an elegance unto themselves, but if man-made beauty can come anywhere close to this, Anthony Doerr's short stories would be perfect candidates. His debut collection, The Shell Collector, sets such high standards, sentence to sentence, that it is more like the private architecture of shells than like the random borrowings, sexual details, and flashes of insight that make up the bulk of contemporary fiction. The title story is about a blind man of 58, a scholar of shells (malacology), who retires to an isolated beach-side hut in Kenya, but then accidentally discovers a cure for a major illness in the often-deadly stings of the cone snail. "The Hunter's Wife," a second small masterpiece, describes the marriage of a Montana hunter and his much younger, psychically gifted wife. There are more conventional pieces here; well-written, resonating stories that do not attempt the sweep or descriptive wealth of "The Shell Collector," although they are still at the level of the best realistic fiction that is being published now in America. --Regina Marler


Other Award Winning Books by Anthony Doerr
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
24504 reviews (2014) (544p) (Amazon Top100) (NYT100) (Amazon Top10Lit) (NYT Top10) (Hudson Fiction) (PP) (NBA) (NYTimes) (Amazon) (ALA)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr
114 reviews (2010) (256p) (Amazon)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

Anthony Doerr Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 4  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 2  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 1 All the Light We Cannot See ·  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 1 All the Light We Cannot See ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 1 All the Light We Cannot See ·  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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