Tara's Reviews > The Shell Collector

The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1663300
's review
Jun 17, 2009

it was amazing
Read in January, 2003

This is one of my all-time favorite short story collections. I bought the paperback back when I had very little income. I was browsing in the bookstore (my cheap entertainment) and found this book. I read the first sentence: "The shell collector was scrubbing limpets at his sink when he heard the water taxi come scraping over the reef. He cringed to hear it . . ." and I just had to buy it. The only new book I had purchased for some years. But I couldn't pass it up, and wanted to own it.

It did not disappoint. Every story is brilliant. Doerr manages to write about nature with microscopic clarity in the same way that he can write about human interaction. Many writers can do one or the other, but he achieves both. I think the final story in the collection, "Mkondo," though previously unpublished, seems to stand above the others in that it brings all his philosphies on nature, life, and love into one story with perfect balance and execution.

I am in awe of his ability to weave in research and to lyrically capture setting. Even his dialog rings true. It's not a book to be rushed through. You have to savor every line, reread lines, pause between them. If that's how you enjoy reading the best books, you'll love this one.
31 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Shell Collector.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

02/14/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Tara (new) - added it

Tara You got me! Can't wait to pick this one up... :)


Tara And his novel got great reviews as well. I have to read that one of these days . . .


message 3: by Jill (new)

Jill Baker I have read and reread "All the Light We Cannot See" and I feel as you do about Doerr's remarkable writing. I have been on the verge of getting this one several times, but didn't think short stories could be that good. But your review has tipped the balance. I'm getting it!


Tara Jill wrote: "I have read and reread "All the Light We Cannot See" and I feel as you do about Doerr's remarkable writing. I have been on the verge of getting this one several times, but didn't think short storie..."

Hi Jill: Being a short story fan, I'd say, yes, give short stories a chance! His are longer, too, so you get that novelistic arc.


Lynne Griffin I loved this collection. Doerr is a true talent!


Diana An amazing writer - this is one of a handful of books that, after reading, i wanted to start again and read it once more.


Tara Diana wrote: "An amazing writer - this is one of a handful of books that, after reading, i wanted to start again and read it once more."

Diane: I know what you mean. It's on my favorites shelf, books I won't give up even if I need room for more! :-) I have to get to his novel soon, All the Light.


Renata Beautiful review of a beautifully written book. I read it while waiting for All the Light... and the title story remains my favorite - it was evocative of so much! Hope others find the joys of this book through your review!


Tara Renata wrote: "Beautiful review of a beautifully written book. I read it while waiting for All the Light... and the title story remains my favorite - it was evocative of so much! Hope others find the joys of this..."

Thanks, Renata! I think the first one is my favorite as well.


back to top