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About Grace by Anthony Doerr
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About Grace (edition 2005)

by Anthony Doerr (Author)

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5712617,406 (3.59)18
Member:toby.neal
Title:About Grace
Authors:Anthony Doerr (Author)
Info:HarperPerennial (2005), 416 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Rating:***
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About Grace by Anthony Doerr

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Beautifully written story. Doerr is brilliant at reflecting on the natural sciences and weaving these insights into the narrative. However in this book his descriptions were overdone and the result was the narrative lagged. ( )
  toby.neal | Apr 21, 2017 |
This is not a review - I found this book quite dull, and stopped reading at 67%. I can't believe I didn't stop before! ( )
  Fluffyblue | Apr 2, 2017 |
About Grace, by Anthony Doerr, is the story of David Winkler, a scientist and a man with an unusual gift; prophetic dreams. The story starts out as Winkler (as he is consistently referred to in the book) flies to Alaska to determine the fate of his daughter, Grace. Twenty-five years earlier, having dreamt that Grace died in a flood while his was trying to rescue her, he abandoned his wife and infant daughter, fleeing to a remote Caribbean Island in an attempt to prevent the dream from coming true. What ensues is the story of his life as he seeks to come to terms with his actions, never quite certain whether they saved his daughter’s life or not.
Doerr’s prose is languid and evocative. The pace is leisurely and contemplative and the detail almost overwhelming at times. There are beautiful descriptions and explanations of snowflakes, shells, stars and insect habitation, as well as the settings of Alaska, Ohio and the Caribbean that place the reader firmly in Winkler’s world. However I did not find David Winkler to be a likeable character. His angst and indecision throughout the book, his unwillingness to help himself, combined with his social ineptness and his unerring ability to do the wrong thing was frustrating, and I did not feel myself empathetic towards him. While the story comes around in an arc to a satisfying conclusion, I was left feeling that Winkler’s was a life wasted, not by circumstance, although that was the inciting incident, but by his own character.
Review first published on my blog. To see this and other reviews go to http://sonyaspreenbates.wordpress.com . ( )
  ssbates | Mar 10, 2017 |
Two favorite Quotes will give a taste of the writer's style:
"In our memories the stories of our lives defy chronology, resist transcription: past ambushes present, and future hurries into history." (page 200)

"What are dreams? A ladle dipped, a bucket lowered. The deep cool water beneath the bright surface; the shadow at the base of every tree. Dreams were the reciprocal of each place you visited when you were awake, each hour you passed through. For every moment in the present there was a mirror in the future, and another in the past. Memory and action, object and shadow, wakefulness and sleep. Put a sun over us and we each have our twin, attached to our feet, dragging about with us in lockstep. Try and outrun it." (page 296)

This author has a fascination with science- and renders characters who study bugs, and snowflakes with such precision- it is as though he is the scientist, showing us the human creature in its flawed, beautiful complexity. ( )
  HelenGress | Jul 29, 2016 |
Beautiful writing, but if you want a fast read, this book is not for you. ( )
  amyghilton | Jul 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
About Grace is about David Winkler, a man crippled and made fearful by the accuracy of his dreamed premonitions — a man who foresees future events and who is then constrained to watch them unfold.
added by stephmo | editThe Spectator (Jan 29, 2005)
 
Wouldn't it be useful to see the future when making choices about finance, marriage or the job market? But David Winkler, a meteorologist from Alaska, is completely crippled by his prophetic dreams.
added by stephmo | editThe Guardian, Rachel Hore (Jan 1, 2005)
 
In his first novel, ''About Grace,'' Anthony Doerr drags his protagonist, David Winkler, over a fair few hot coals: 25 years of exile as a dogsbody in a new hotel in St. Vincent in the Caribbean, a near-drowning experience, malnutrition, a clinically debilitating journey in a clapped-out Datsun across the vastness of America, an Alaskan winter in an unheated shed, gradual loss of eyesight, an alienated daughter he abandoned when she was a few months old. The comparisons with Lear are flickering and fugitive but inevitable.
 
In his intriguing but ultimately disappointing first novel, Anthony Doerr gives us David Winkler, an otherwise ordinary man whose dreams literally come true. When he dreams that a man carrying a hatbox will be struck and killed by a bus at a nearby intersection, it comes to pass just as he imagined. When he dreams that a woman wearing polyester pants will drop a magazine at the Snow Goose Market, she drops it -- and he falls in love.
 
David Winkler, the 59-year-old protagonist of Anthony Doerr's debut novel, About Grace, is a dreamer but not, alas, of the carefree, California kind. Instead Winkler is a modern-day Cassandra who dreams about future events -- some momentous, some trivial -- and when he tries to warn people, he meets, for the most part, with incredulity and skepticism.
 
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There must be some definite cause why, whenever snow begins to fall, its initial formation invariably displays the shape of a six-cornered starlet. For if it happens by chance, why do they not fall just as well with five corners or with seven? . . .Who carved the nucleus, before it fell, into six horns of ice?
-From "On the The Six-cornered Snowflake,"
by Johannes Kepler, 1610
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for my mother and father
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He made his way through the concourse and stopped by a window to watch a man with two orange wands wave a jet into its gate.
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"David Winkler begins life in Anchorage, Alaska, a quiet boy drawn to the volatility of weather and obsessed with snow. Sometimes he sees things before they happen - a man carrying a hatbox will be hit by a bus; Winkler will fall in love with a woman in a supermarket. When David dreams that his infant daughter will drown in a flood as he tries to save her, he comes undone. He travels thousands of miles, fleeing family, home, and the future itself, to deny the dream." "On a Caribbean island, destitute, alone, and unsure if his child has survived or his wife can forgive him, David is sheltered by a couple with a daughter of their own. Ultimately it is she who will pull him back into the world, to search for the people he left behind."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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