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September 2020: Psychological > Apeirogon -Colum McCann -5 stars (Poll Ballot)

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message 1: by Booknblues (last edited Sep 12, 2020 10:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Booknblues | 5747 comments
Apeirogon: a shape with a countably infinite number of sides.

Countably infinite being the simplest form of infinity. Beginning from zero, one can use natural numbers to count on and on, and even though the counting will take forever one can still get to any point in the universe in a finite amount of time.


As one shifts the apeirogon around or reads it one notices the beauty in the countably infinite number of sides, the flight of the birds, the depth of tragic loss, the symmetry on both sides, the despair in war, the search for peace.

There is a brilliance to Colum McCann's novel that cannot be denied. I was in awe much of the time I was reading the book. It is a book with a countably infinite number of sides or chapters. From 1 to 500 and back from 500 to 1. The prose is lovely, shifting and moving. Riding on a motorcycle, watching the birds rise in the air, tight walking over Jerusalem, starving in prison, revealing Mitterand's last meal, and searching for peace.

Woven through this is the heart of the story, Israeli Rami who has lost his daughter and Palestinian Bassam who has lost his daughter united in their goal to find peace or to counteract war.

"Beyond that, anything which creates emotional ties between human beings inevitably counteracts war. What had to be sought was a community of feeling, and a mythology of the instincts.

I am a fan of Colum McCann and while reading Apeirogon , I was struck by how it forms a sort of cohesion with the other novels of his which I have read, Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic. Themes and personalities from the other two return in Apeirogon. Here is Philippe Petit walking the rope over Jerusalem, here is Belfast, Ireland involved in peace talks, here is George Mitchell brokering peace between Israel and Palestine. And the themes love, flight, peace, and pain are all recurrent.

As much as I loved this book and found it to be brilliant, I found it a somewhat difficult read which seemed to take me for...ev....er, short little chapters fly by and yet I was creeping through the book with the pace of a snail.


message 2: by NancyJ (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5219 comments Great review. I’ve listened to bits at night, partly because it’s very soothing, and I enjoy the small tangential ideas. When I have the book in hand, I’ll focus and make more progress.


Booknblues | 5747 comments NancyJ wrote: "Great review. I’ve listened to bits at night, partly because it’s very soothing, and I enjoy the small tangential ideas. When I have the book in hand, I’ll focus and make more progress."

Yes, it is those small tangential ideas that make it great but also slow it down. It seems like it reads quickly and I was always surprised that I had actually read so little of it. I crept through it.

And of course those little blurbs side track you. One of the first few in the book talks about Mitterands last meal of song birds. Had to double check, did this truly happen? Yes it truly did.

And then, look here is a guy on a slackwire, is he the same one from Let the Great World Spin and did he really do that? Another trip to the computer to verify.

Then I started thinking about how this book tied in with his other books. I wish I had read them more recently, but I read Let the Great World Spin in 2010 and Trans Atlantic in 2013, so I'm stretching . I think it would be good to read them in order and more closely together.


message 4: by NancyJ (last edited Sep 14, 2020 02:10AM) (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5219 comments Booknblues wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Great review. I’ve listened to bits at night, partly because it’s very soothing, and I enjoy the small tangential ideas. When I have the book in hand, I’ll focus and make more progre..."

I just heard that part about the songbirds last night. I thought maybe I was dreaming. (Crunching the little bones. Yuck.)


Booknblues | 5747 comments NancyJ wrote: "Booknblues wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Great review. I’ve listened to bits at night, partly because it’s very soothing, and I enjoy the small tangential ideas. When I have the book in hand, I’ll focus a..."

I'm sure there is a college paper that will be written on the symbolism of the song birds in this book.


Nicole D. | 1482 comments every time I read someone's review of this book I love it even more.
Nancy - I started it on audio, but quickly switched to print, and enjoyed it much more. I think it's a bit confusing for audio.


Booknblues | 5747 comments Nicole D. wrote: "every time I read someone's review of this book I love it even more.
Nancy - I started it on audio, but quickly switched to print, and enjoyed it much more. I think it's a bit confusing for audio."


I'd expect that on audio it may be even harder to focus on.

It is indeed a great book. I thought that the whole time I was reading it, even when I wished I would finish it soon.


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