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Thirteen Ways of Looking: Fiction by Colum…

Thirteen Ways of Looking: Fiction (2015)

by Colum McCann

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Listened to the audiobook in fall of 2017. I really enjoyed the murder mystery novella. It had a slow unfolding that I really enjoyed. The other stories were more forgettable. ( )
  jscape2000 | Oct 21, 2017 |
What can I say about Colum McCann's writing except that it never disappoints! In this collection of four stories the reader can become completely drawn in in just moments. I laughed and then was angry with myself for laughing at a solemn moment. McCann's prose is witty, lyrical, and so very able to capture the essence of emotion. In one story he invites the reader into the writing process itself as he works through a contracted New Year's Eve tale. Never repetitive, always evocative! Great! ( )
  hemlokgang | Oct 10, 2017 |
I really like Colum McCann's writing and found his previous novels to be structured around a series of connected stories, any of which could be short stories on their own. 'Thirteen Ways of Looking' is a short story collection. I particularly enjoyed the title novella and its multiple reveals, as well as the central character's capacity for love, humanity and compassion, while some of his (well-filtered) thoughts were brutal. Each of the stories had a sinister (or foreboding) undertone - I like 'sinister' provided there is an outcome, which is this collection, there is. However, what I most enjoy about McCann's work is his writing - it's fresh and fluid, occasionally ambiguous, and always moving. ( )
  tandah | Jul 15, 2017 |
Not sure what all the fuss is about; I felt as if I were reading a series of disjointed, though at times poetic, journal entries. ( )
  dcmr | Jul 4, 2017 |
A special thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I have been meaning to read Let the Great World Spin since purchasing it years ago and have yet to get around to it. After binging on Thirteen Ways of Looking, I'm putting Let the Great World Spin back to the top of the heap on my nightstand. Short stories are not usually something I pick up, and honestly, I requested the book not realizing this was a novella and short story compilation. McCann has such a gift with language and writing, I highly recommend picking up this collection that is framed by notes from the author. You won't be disappointed!

Thirteen Ways of Looking

This novella is so rich, I wanted it to be a full-fledged book! I was instantly drawn in and devoured every page of this mystery. McCann's character development is outstanding. The story draws heavily on culture/literary references, daunting to some, but really worked with the character.

The reader is introduced to varying perspectives from the main character's, the security camera footage, and the detectives'. I am not familiar with the Wallace Stevens poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" that is quoted at the beginning of each section and forms the basis of the title, so it may be a bit lost on me, but I understand the symbolism. I don't want to give anything away, there is closure to the story, but he does leave the reader hanging.

What Time Is It Now, Where You Are?

A writer walks through the steps of creating a story. McCann tells us what the writer imagines it would be like for an American female soldier station in Afghanistan on New Year's Eve waiting to call her lover. He writes all of his questions, his though process while creating the story. It was so effective and so vivid, and yet so short.


This story was my least favourite. A mom and her mentally disabled son are vacationing on the coast of Ireland and the son disappears. I can't put my finger on what I didn't like about the story, it certainly wasn't the writing, as a reader, you can feel the anguish of the mother, but maybe it was the subject itself.


This story about an aging nun that confronts the man who tortured and raped her 37 years prior when she learns that he alive and well and is a posing as something completely opposite to what she experienced. This story was so intense, well-written, and raw. ( )
  GirlWellRead | Feb 25, 2017 |
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Voor Lisa, Jackie, Mike en Karen.
Voor al diegenen die blijven bouwen aan Narrative 4.
Ter nagedachtenis aan mijn vader, Sean McCann.
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De eerste is boven in een mahoniehouten boekenkast verborgen en bestrijkt de hele ruimte van de kamer waarin hij op een royaal tweepersoonsbed tussen een hoop kussens ligt te slapen.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812996720, Hardcover)

In such acclaimed novels as Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic, National Book Award–winning author Colum McCann has transfixed readers with his precision, tenderness, and authority. Now, in his first collection of short fiction in more than a decade, McCann charts the territory of chance, and the profound and intimate consequences of even our smallest moments.
“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.”
In the exuberant title novella, a retired judge reflects on his life’s work, unaware as he goes about his daily routines that this particular morning will be his last. In “Sh’khol,” a mother spending Christmas alone with her son confronts the unthinkable when he disappears while swimming off the coast near their home in Ireland. In “Treaty,” an elderly nun catches a snippet of a news report in which it is revealed that the man who once kidnapped and brutalized her is alive, masquerading as an agent of peace. And in “What Time Is It Now, Where You Are?” a writer constructs a story about a Marine in Afghanistan calling home on New Year’s Eve.
Deeply personal, subtly subversive, at times harrowing, and indeed funny, yet also full of comfort, Thirteen Ways of Looking is a striking achievement. With unsurpassed empathy for his characters and their inner lives, Colum McCann forges from their stories a profound tribute to our search for meaning and grace. The collection is a rumination on the power of storytelling in a world where language and memory can sometimes falter, but in the end do not fail us, and a contemplation of the healing power of literature.
Praise for Colum McCann

Let the Great World Spin
Winner of the National Book Award
“One of the most electric, profound novels I have read in years.”—Jonathan Mahler, The New York Times Book Review
“Stunning . . . [an] elegiac glimpse of hope.”USA Today
“There’s so much passion and humor and pure life force on every page that you’ll find yourself giddy, dizzy, overwhelmed.”—Dave Eggers
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
“Reminiscent of the finest work of Michael Ondaatje and Michael Cunningham.”O: The Oprah Magazine
“Here is the uncanny thing McCann finds again and again about the miraculous: that it is inseparable from the everyday.”The Boston Globe
“Another sweeping, beautifully constructed tapestry of life . . . Reading McCann is a rare joy.”The Seattle Times

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 07 Jul 2015 07:17:40 -0400)

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