By Anthony Doerr
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9781439182802, 256pp.)
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
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From an award-winning and extraordinarily eloquent author whose "prose dazzles" (The New York Times Book Review) comes a second stunning collection.
Set on four continents, Anthony Doerr's new stories are about memory, the source of meaning and coherence in our lives, the fragile thread that connects us to ourselves and to others. Every hour, says Doerr, all over the globe, an infinite number of memories disappear. Yet at the same time children, surveying territory that is entirely new to them, push back the darkness, form fresh memories, and remake the world.
In the luminous and beautiful title story, a young boy in South Africa comes to possess an old woman's secret, a piece of the past with the power to redeem a life. In "The River Nemunas," a teenage orphan moves from Kansas to Lithuania to live with her grandfather, and discovers a world in which myth becomes real. "Village 113," winner of an O'Henry Prize, is about the building of the Three Gorges Dam and the seed keeper who guards the history of a village soon to be submerged. And in "Afterworld," the radiant, cathartic final story, a woman who escaped the Holocaust is haunted by visions of her childhood friends in Germany, yet finds solace in the tender ministrations of her grandson.
Every story in Memory Wall is a reminder of the grandeur of life--of the mysterious beauty of seeds, of fossils, of sturgeon, of clouds, of radios, of leaves, of the breathtaking fortune of living in this universe. Doerr's language, his witness, his imagination, and his humanity are unparalleled in fiction today.
Anthony Doerr was awarded the 2010 Story Prize for Memory Wall. His other books include The Shell Collector, About Grace, and Four Seasons in Rome. His books have been a New York Times Notable Book, an American Library Association Book of the Year, a "Book of the Year" in the Washington Post, and he has won the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton, and shared the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. His book reviews have appeared in the New York Times and Der Spiegel, and he writes the “On Science” column for the Boston Globe. Doerr is the Writer-in-Residence for the state of Idaho.
If we're lucky, our mind occupies a lot of places at once; our present-day reality, our painfully or happily remembered past, and our hopeful future. Throughout the day, we're sent from one point in time to the other so fast, that we can occupy all at once. Guest host Rachel Martin talks with award-winning writer Anthony Doerr about his new short story collection, Memory Wall. More at NPR.org
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“Doerr writes about the big questions, the imponderables, the major metaphysical dreads, and he does it fearlessly.”—New York Times Book Review