Apeirogon: A Novel

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Israeli Rami Elhanan and Palestinian Bassam Aramin are grieving fathers brought together by losses that unite them across cultural and spiritual divides in National Book Award-winner Colum McCann’s latest novel, Apeirogon.

The title, a geometrical term expressing a polygon with an infinite number of countable sides, conveys the structure of the book. Written in 1001 sections, counting up to 500 and back down to one, the novel is a hybrid of interlocking narratives, historical accounts, metaphorical explorations, photographs, and philosophical musings. The structure is demanding and can be difficult to follow—particularly the core stories of Rami and Bassam—if the book is read over a long stretch. I recommend committing to it in a shorter time frame so the narrative threads don’t unravel.

For those interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or history and art enthusiasts looking to be mesmerized by McCann’s vast and seemingly endless allusions, the novel is a home run. Fans of more traditional, linear narratives, however, may find his latest offering a struggle.

At its core, Apeirogon is a complex, at times heartbreakingly beautiful reminder that shared humanity trumps hatred, violence, war, difference, and time. There is nothing more necessary to remember as we navigate the world, each of us in our individual spheres desperately seeking connection.

Reviewed By:

Author Colum McCann
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 480 pages
Publisher Random House
Publish Date 2020-02-25
ISBN 9781400069606
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue March 2020
Category Popular Fiction


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