- MP3 CD
- Publisher: Audible Studios on Brilliance audio; Unabridged edition (19 July 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1522685200
- ISBN-13: 978-1522685203
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.6 x 14 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
The Shell Collector MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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― Anthony Doerr, The Shell Collector
I very rarely if ever pick up a book of short stories for a read. I had no idea that “The Shell collector’ was a collection of short stories because I didn’t read the blurb before I began to read this book.
I remember seeing it a lot on Bookstagram and I admit the cover is one of the main reasons I decided to pick it up. I’ve always been someone who loves visiting museums especially the Natural History exhibits. I can never really tire of museums and looking at specimens. Through this collection of stories, Antony Doerr gives us a new perception of this act of being spectators of specimens pinned up on a board.
The title “The Shell Collector” made me very curious about this book and was also in part a reason why I picked it up. But the tales I found inside were truly an unexpected lot. I was suddenly introduced to a whole range of characters: a blind shell collector who lives by himself on a Muslim-populated island, a caretaker and ex-convict from Africa who attempts to befriend a deaf girl in the states, a group of Americans who try to outsmart the British in a serious game of angling, a fantastical tale about the relationship between a hunter and his empathetic wife, a girl who elopes with a metal-eating man in order to tour the world as part of a freak show. On the whole, it gives us a glimpse into the most unusual of human souls.
If there’s a single story I thought that this book is worth buying for, it’s the first one in the collection, “The Shell Collector” itself. I felt like the collection was put together with a great deal of thought. The stories are embedded with meaning both individually and collectively. The shell collector makes us more aware of our existence than ever.
Almost all the stories appear to run a theme that has to do with the cyclical nature of life and death of all beings. The stories are fluid and the writing, organic.
But the final story Mkondo, really struck a chord with me. It’s about a museum curator/archeologist and a free-spirited Tanzanian woman who fall in love but meet challenges when they find themselves displaced from their respective geographical environs.
I’d recommend this book to anybody who loves to read about the world, its natural history, and the kinds of people who inhabit it. The Shell Collector is perfect for anyone who wants to feel a great deal when they read a book. The writing is beautiful and oozes Doerr’s signature style.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Anthony Doerr is a word magician. His prose is lyrical, his observation of Nature awe inspiring and his characters memorable. I was enchanted by each story in this book. It is by far the best collection of short stories I have ever read.
From the tropical heat of Africa in the first story, (from which the book title is taken,) to the frozen winters of Montana, the foggy coast of Maine or grim Lithuanian cities, the author transports you with consummate ease. His writing is so beautiful, I wanted to read and re-read many passages. I know I shall return to these stories again and again. The spirituality or magical realism of his work gives added depth to each beautifully crafted piece.
But he saves the best for last. 'Mkondo' is a masterpiece of short story writing. He captures the contrasts between the life of the wild Tanzanian girl and that of the American city man to perfection. To give more away would be to spoil a reader's anticipation.
Just purchase this collection. I promise you won't regret it!
to create rich dimensional characters that live on in the reader long after the book has ended. Don't miss his novels or short works.
In many cases, reading earlier works of an author who has produced later masterpieces can be a slight letdown, but for me that wasn't the case with The Shell Collector. Vivid, interesting, thought-provoking ... I'd recommend this collection whether this is your first exposure to Doerr, or whether you've read other works by him already.
"Then she sees the fisherman. Just to her left. Wading. As if he came from nowhere. From nothing. From the sea itself."
The other challenge that I found interesting is that the author does not use quotation marks for dialog. A few times it tripped me up but its main effect is a slowing down of one's reading speed which I don't object to. I like to slow down at times to more fully enjoy a writer's style but it did take a little time to get used to.
The one issue I could bring up is that as I progressed through the stories, I felt I could predict the author.
As far as reviews that the stories had no endings (leaving the readers unsatisfied or confused), I totally disagree. An author does not have to wrap a story up into a neat and tidy box. The story, A Tangle by the Rapid River, has an ending that implies the main character's life is unraveling from an unexpected event earlier in the day. One can easily picture what he is facing ahead, quite symbolic of infidelity.
On the other hand, several stories do have endings that require just a tad bit of reading between the lines: The Shell Collector, For a Long Time This Was Griselda's Story, July Fourth, and The Caretaker. Nothing the matter with putting a book down and spending a moment reflecting and then going back and rereading the ending to gather up a few more clues to how the story wraps up.