The Shell Collector: Stories

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9780743212748: The Shell Collector: Stories

A debut collection of evocative short fiction explores the complex mysteries of the human condition--grief, transformation, fractured relationships, and mending hearts--in a volume that includes the title story, "The Hunter's Wife," and "For a Long Time This Was Griselda's Story," about two Idaho sisters struggling to come to terms with their diverse paths in life. 12,500 first printing.

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Review:

The whorls, chambers, and ribs of the seashell are an elegance unto themselves, but if man-made beauty can come anywhere close to this, Anthony Doerr's short stories would be perfect candidates. His debut collection, The Shell Collector, sets such high standards, sentence to sentence, that it is more like the private architecture of shells than like the random borrowings, sexual details, and flashes of insight that make up the bulk of contemporary fiction. The title story is about a blind man of 58, a scholar of shells (malacology), who retires to an isolated beach-side hut in Kenya, but then accidentally discovers a cure for a major illness in the often-deadly stings of the cone snail. "The Hunter's Wife," a second small masterpiece, describes the marriage of a Montana hunter and his much younger, psychically gifted wife. There are more conventional pieces here; well-written, resonating stories that do not attempt the sweep or descriptive wealth of "The Shell Collector," although they are still at the level of the best realistic fiction that is being published now in America. --Regina Marler

About the Author:

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Anthony Doerr has lived in Africa and New Zealand. His stories have appeared in numerous publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The North American Review, and The Black Warrior Review. He is twenty-eight years old and lives in Boise, Idaho.

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