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About Grace

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3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  1,154 ratings  ·  183 reviews

When Anthony Doerr's The Shell Collector was published in 2002, the Los Angeles Times called his stories "as close to faultless as any writer -- young or vastly experienced -- could wish for." He won the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Discover Prize, Princeton's Hodder Fellowship, and two O. Henrys, and shared the Young Lions Award. Now he h

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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Scribner (first published 2004)
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TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez
About Grace is the first novel from Boise, Idaho based author, Anthony Doerr. He previously published a collection of short stories, The Shell Collector, which were both moving and gorgeous. One of the qualities of the stories contained in The Shell Collector, i.e., each story's deep connection to the natural world in which it takes place, actually becomes one of the chief weaknesses in About Grace.

About Grace opens as its protagonist, David Winkler, a fifty-nine-year-old scientist, especially f
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Cathy
I read this because Doerr is a local author, and a prize winner, and I liked him so much when I heard him speak. I wanted to like the book. I listened to it in my car and listened to the whooooooole thing. I started cursing it as I drove down the street. At times I wanted to drive into a telephone pole just to stop the pain. a) I don't like plotting based on poor decisions by the characters. b) I don't like extended meanderings into beautiful descriptive prose about things that have absolutely n ...more
Becky
This book tells the story of David Winkler, a man who has dreams that are premonitions of the future. It was beautifully written with amazing imagery of the diverse settings of the novel. In Winkler's attempts to escape his dreams he travels from the Caribbean to Alaska and Doerr describes both of these settings in beautiful almost magical detail. Water and snow become the most amazingly complex and beautiful things in Doerr's writing. Other reviewers have stated that while the writing was beaut ...more
Lori
I love that he uses the science of snowflakes to mirror the complicated mental patterns of a human being who is lost and trying to find his place in the world, attempting to come to terms with the chaos in his head and heart.

Doeer is remarkably astute in delving into the isolation and loneliness of being human, the intermittment connections we make: some enduring, others brief and awkward, but each valuable and necessary. This story is a classic hero's journey and Doerr writes it well.

I percei
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Bill Perkins
One of my favorite books. The charachter Mr Winkler often is in my thoughts. It is a story of remorse, of growth, of change, and of love. I recommend this to anyone. The text is beautifully written. The characters are deeply defined. I loved every word, and was so sad to see the end.
Miranda
For a girl who boasts to the claim of not being a fan of "recreational crying" I would have to say I understand now why some girls like to watch movies that make them cry. I found this book rather therapeutic. The book is called About Grace and it is by Anthony Doerr.

The book is about David Winkler a man who has a vision of his daughter's death, which he sees himself causeing. This vision causes him to then spends his whole life running to avoid it. It follows the path he takes and the people h
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Sally Knotwell
This was a highly touted book for our book club. The premise had me excited to read it. However, once I got started, I found that I was in a constant state of confusion. Each chapter starts out with the main character, David Winkler, as a different age and it does not progress chronologically. It bounces from age 59 to 32 and back and forth with no particular signal that the reader is going back or forth. David Winkler is not a sympathetic character in my opinion. He is immoral and a stalker. An ...more
Pat Simons
After reading All the Light We Cannot See, which I found thought-provoking and beautifully written, I wanted to read more of Doerr's work. The title "About Grace" looked promising, so I downloaded it. But the book didn't hold a candle (hoho) to All the Light We Cannot See. Some of the prose was lovely, although not as spectacular as the prose in All the Light We Cannot See. But I was as happy to see About Grace end as I was sorry to see the end of All the Light We Cannot See. I found the protago ...more
GoldGato
Languid. This is a languid book requiring the reader to lower their metabolism to match the flow of the page. If the reader can do this, if the reader can build patience, then a world of graceful prose will be the reward.

The mythology of the Great Flood still lives in our heads. The fear and awe of water and waves and violent whitecaps. "We live in the beds of ancient oceans." Water and its transformation into snowflakes form the basis of this novel. The water in each of us that longs to return
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Anneke
The second book I've read by Tony Doerr. He is my current favorite author. Beautiful language, astonishing and perfect structure. I've got a few more of his books from the library on my shelf. So satisfying and fulfilling to read these gems.
Jane
I had mixed feelings about this book. I cared about the sentences, not the characters. They just never came alive for me. The writing is gorgeous, particularly the passages about water in all its permutations--snowflakes, clouds, rain, puddles. I love the idea of a novel growing out of geography and climate, as this novel clearly does. I just don't think it drew me in as I expect a book to. The characters never felt like real people. The were caricatures for me. And I love Doerr's stories and hi ...more
Brenda
When we first meet David Winkler he is boarding a plane, and returning home for the first time in twenty-five years. Back then he had been a husband, and a father working as a staff meteorologist at a TV station in Cleveland and then one day he ran away to Kingstown, St Vincent.

He ran a way because he has a special gift: sometimes his recurring dreams come true. As a child he dreamed of a man being run over by a bus, and it came true right before his eyes. Then he dreamed he would meet the woman
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David Carr
I had finished Doerr's short story collection, Memory Wall, when my Kindle [I was traveling in Alaska] offered me an opportunity to read the first pages of About Grace and I said yes. Then I fell into this book and found it to take me back to some of the best reading I did forty years ago or more. At times Doerr reminded me of the Nabokov of Pnin or the great Bernard Malamud's A New Life; I also thought of Saul Bellow and the neglected Edward Lewis Wallant.

Doerr's protagonist is haunted and dri
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Peggy
I had figured out that Anthony Doerr was not related to Harriet before I started this novel. About Grace is in five parts and I am somewhat surprised so that so many of us (including characters) survived so many. It's a stunning beginning, all 78 pages of Book 1 in my edition. But at the end of Book 1 I felt that I had read an entire novella I looked in wonderment at the bulk of the book remaining. He seemed to have lost everything; perhaps sacrificed it and you want to shake David Winkler. Get ...more
Rachel
I found this book compelling-a little long, and at times I was really frustrated with Winkler, but I had to find out what would become of him. Very much enjoyed the writing style. It was extremely observant and relaxing. Made me think a lot. I will read more by this author.
Charly
This was the most beautifully written book I've read in a long time. I couldn't put it down. I loved everything about it, the story and the way it was told.
Nancy
I almost gave this four stars, but really, it took me in and made me want to keep the book on my shelf, to perhaps read it again some day. The writing is beautiful as are the emotions they conjure up. It deals with the idea of whether we are all just players in a predetermined fate or do we have choice. It also deals with forgiveness and how many humans live through sorrow and still hold on to life...as though there is some inner something that keeps us interested in continuing to exist...is thi ...more
Kitkat
Stunning prose. Beautiful descriptions of Alaska, the Grenadines, and hydrological obsessions (snow crystals, water cycles). In Four Seasons in Rome, as well as this book, I appreciated Doerr's descriptions of time as it relates to natural cycles, a human life span, and human generations--really beautiful. The book could have been edited down, particularly the road trip across the U.S. The scope of the book and the protagonist's extreme suffering seemed to merit more of an ending, but the writin ...more
Cole Alpaugh
Winkler dreams he cannot save his infant daughter from drowning in a flood. When the rains come and the river rises, he is convinced the dream will come true. He flees before knowing, abandoning wife and child, taking a freighter to a Caribbean island, where for 25 years he wonders if Grace survived.

And then he flies home.

Anthony Doerr's prose are lyrical and brilliant. Part OLD MAN AND THE SEA, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, and MISTER PIP, you can pick up any paragraph of this novel and escape t
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Karen
Every sentence in this book was beautiful! The science of water, and especially snowflakes, read like poetry. Only trouble was that there were too many of them (technical sentences)! I found myself skimming frequently in order to get on with the so-called life of David Winkler. I accepted the unrealistic elements of the story, but never did decide what the essential theme was. An acquaintance said the book changed his life. I wish I knew this person's before and after situation. Basically I like ...more
Diane
Gave up on it, I was tired of reading about snowflakes
V. L. Craven
His entire life, David Winkler is blessed (cursed?) with premonitions and when he has recurring visions of accidentally drowning his daughter he flees, hoping that will stop the accident happening. He winds up on a small island in the Caribbean, where he works at a resort for tourists for twenty-five years before finally deciding to find his wife and daughter. After struggling to return to the States (he didn’t leave the country in an exactly ‘legal’ way) he discovers his estranged wife no longe ...more
Catherine
About Grace is less about Grace than her father David Winkler. As a boy, David Winkler grows up in Anchorage, Alaska with his mother, who is of Finnish ancestry and his father, a milk man. His curiosity centers on water, especially in the form of snow. He is a quiet child who dreams things before they happen and who feels he is helpless against fate. He dreams about a man who gets hit by a bus and as he and his mother are out on the street he witnesses the accident. He dreams about a woman he wi ...more
Terry
About Grace is beautifully crafted. Doerr has a command of cadence and language that is unparalleled but the book otherwise leaves much to be desired. The main character sometimes receives premonitions which often prove true and much of the book is driven by trying to avoid these fates.

Where the book falls flat is in the exploration of its themes. So, the character gets visions of the future, got it. But then the character can avoid those futures. The main character is clumsy in wielding fate as
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Holly
David Winkler grows up in Anchorage, Alaska, with a fondness/obsession for snow and other forms of weather. He has a special gift - his dreams sometimes predict the future. He dreams he'll meet his wife in the grocery store, and he dreams their baby daughter Grace will drown in a flood. When the river near their home floods its banks, Winkler loses control. Alienated from his family he flees to a remote Caribbean island.

One could argue Winkler is one of the unluckiest men alive - he almost drown
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Emily
I was given this book by a co-worker to read. She gave it to me on my birthday, but I am not sure if I was suppose to keep it and if it was a present or not, I am a little confused by that. She thought she had read it before called the color of snow or something like that. The writer is known for his collections of short stories, The Shell Collector is his probably most well known one.

The novel is broken up into different books following David Winkler. David has dreams that are kind of like visi
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Elsje
Al eindeloos (meer dan een jaar) lag op mijn MTBR About Grace van Anthony Doerr. Ik weet niet waarom het daar maar bleef liggen, ik kreeg het van een vriendin met een Zeer Overlappende Boekensmaak. Het wat zoetige, tikkie out-of-focus plaatje van een moeder die een baby omklemt misschien? Hoe dan ook, eindelijk vervrouwde :-) ik mezelf en las het. En het viel absoluut niet tegen. Eigenlijk is het gewoon een prima boek. Geen lees-of-ik-schiet ervaring, maar zeker wel bijzonder.

En dat komt vooral
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Kirstie
I think the key to this novel is that Doerr makes it work because of his ability to write. Much as in the case of his short stories and novella, Memory Wall, Doerr's imagery is astute and often adds so much to the story. About Grace is less about memories and more about dreams and the future. In some ways, it recalls a plot that one could easily associate with Kevin Brockmeier..it starts to dabble in the realm of the supernatural in the sense that the plot speaks of a man who dreams terrifying f ...more
Thomas
Well.....it was a noble effort. Anthony Doerr is such a talented short story writer...concise, lyrical, prose filled with poignant images and symbolism. As I feared, About Grace stumbles....Doerr wants to ensure the themes and structure prevail, at the cost of plausible characters and melodrama. The theme of water- in constant state of flux, and the structure of a snowflake, with its heaxagonal core and malleable, vibrating, transient and brilliant appendages are magnificent, even when the appli ...more
Karen
It's hard for me to rate this book. The beautiful language and descriptions would earn a 5. The flow of the book and character development would get a 1 or a 2 so overall I'll say it's a 3.

I think this author's style is much better suited to short stories. I loved his collection "The Shell Collector". This book was written in sections, almost like short stories, but there were inconsistencies between sections --author is a handyman for 20 years in one section, but clueless when the generator st
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The Ending? Help me understand... 1 10 Oct 16, 2012 12:55PM  
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Anthony Doerr is the author of five books, The Shell Collector , About Grace , Memory Wall , Four Seasons in Rome and All the Light We Cannot See . Doerr’s fiction has won four O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He has won the Barnes & Noble Discover Pr ...more
More about Anthony Doerr...
All the Light We Cannot See The Shell Collector: Stories Memory Wall Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World The Snake Handler (short story)

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