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Apeirogon  By  cover art

Apeirogon

By: Colum McCann
Narrated by: Colum McCann
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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents Apeirogon by Colum McCann, read by Colum McCann.

Longlisted for The 2020 Booker Prize

A New York Times best seller

A BBC Book of 2020

Chosen as a Book of The Year by The Sunday Times, Observer, Guardian, I Paper, Financial Times, New Statesman, Scotsman, Irish Times, BBC.com, Waterstones.com

The novel of a lifetime about two men and their daughters: divided by conflict, yet united in grief.

Rami Elhanan and Bassam Aramin live near one another – yet they exist worlds apart. Rami is Israeli. Bassam is Palestinian. Rami’s license plate is yellow. Bassam’s license plate is green. It takes Rami fifteen minutes to drive to the West Bank. The same journey for Bassam takes an hour and a half.

Both men have lost their daughters. Rami’s 13-year-old girl Smadar was killed by a suicide bomber while out shopping with her friends. Bassam’s 10-year-old daughter Abir was shot and killed by a member of the border police outside her school. There was a candy bracelet in her pocket she hadn’t had time to eat yet.

The men become the best of friends.

In this epic novel – named for a shape with a countably infinite number of sides – Colum McCann crosses centuries and continents, stitching time, art, history, nature and politics into a tapestry of friendship, love, loss and belonging. Musical, muscular, delicate and soaring, Apeirogon is the novel for our times.

©2020 Colum McCann (P)2020 Penguin Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Nothing like any book you’ve ever read.... Think of discovering an entirely unprecedented, and profoundly true, narrative form. Think about feeling that the very idea of the novel, of what it can be and what it’s capable of containing, has been expanded, forever.... All I can really tell you is, read McCann’s book. It’s an important book." (Michael Cunningham)

"The tale of a friendship between an Israeli and a Palestinian.... Composed of 1,001 chapters, it has won effusive praise from early readers." (New Statesman)

"A quite extraordinary novel. Colum McCann has found the form and voice to tell the most complex of stories, with an unexpected friendship between two men at its powerfully beating heart." (Kamila Shamsie)

What listeners say about Apeirogon

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Savoured every word of this beautifully crafted book

Such an insightful and important story. I loved listening to it. The voice was compelling and the story, more so.

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Amazing

it was really difficult to get into the book to start with, with its rapid fire style but once I did, I relished the word, sentence, paragraph hapters. Each so powerful in the brevity and punching sentiments... this book is not for everyone, but having lived in the Middle East for 12 years, there were parts that were so saddly familiar ... its an appalling situation and no end in site.

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Novel, truly novel.

Beautifully written and read. A combination of empathy for the individual character and penetrating description of the historical political scenario.

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  • David M
  • 08-08-20

Occupation

Rami Elhanan (a Jew) and Bassam Aramin (a Palestinian) co-found a small group that calls itself Combatants for Peace, to oppose the violence arising from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. The group meets in the Everest Hotel, Bayt Jala, near Bethlehem, just off Highway 60. The conflict has already killed both of their daughters. They embark on speaking tours to share their anguish with as many people as possible, and campaign for the end of hostilities on both sides and the end of oppression of the Palestinian people by the Israeli army.

This is largely a true story. In chapters 500, (the two middle chapters), both the main characters give us a substantial account of their individual stories. The other 998 chapters consist of short snippets of things closely, or not so closely relevant to the main story. We get: mathematics, olive trees, birds, geography ("geography is everything in the West Bank"), history, sling shots, atrocities, cruelties, injury - often in graphic detail, oppression, sounds, silence, music, the price of water, military service, checkpoints, repetition, heat, horses, nuclear technology, lists - many lists, and did I mention repetition.

The book really did teach me an awful lot about the area that I didn't know before. Quite amazing really. Right from the start I was researching the region on-line to supplement what I was hearing from the book. My first urge was to find a map of the West Bank. Then to find out what areas A, B, and C are all about.

I thought this book was was not unlike "Milkman" which won the Man Booker Prize in 2018, though in my opinion, not quite as good. Trying to structure the book mathematically like an apeirogon was a clever idea in theory, but perhaps a little tedious to listen to as an audio book.

They really should have paid a proper actor to perform this. The voice we heard was low energy and miserable for all 15 hours 20 minutes. A listener can only take so much misery - even if misery has some relevance.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Waggy From Derby
  • 05-13-20

eye. opening and hopeful

being already aware of the Palestinian & Israeli problems, I never thought an answer could be found. This book could be the start of that answer and those of similar problems elsewhere in the world. Being sympathetic to how Palestinians are treated by the occupying Israeli's does not make me an Israeli or Jew hate, I am not. I wish both sides would sit down and read this book, listen, to each other, talk and settle their problems. The Israeli's don't have to leave, just to compromise and stop treating Palestinians as terrorists. The Palestinians have to accept the Israeli's need a home land. Compromise and understand for all our sakes.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-06-21

Beautifully written, but not an easy read

Beautifully written, touching, highly intellectual. Colum goes into the most minuscule details to make the story come alive. The way the book is written (lots, LOTS of short chapters, jumping between different characters, time, and seemingly unrelated stories) keeps you on your toes, but sometimes also makes it tricky to follow.

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  • Jo Lee
  • 09-16-21

Jumpy

Struggled to get into it. Lots of very short chapters which works when reading but not on audio book for me.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-07-21

Brilliant

What a wonderful way to tell the most awful yet redemptive of storys. A privilege to read

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-25-21

Incredible.

A phenomenal work. I have the hard copy too but the reading by the author is fantastic.

1 person found this helpful

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  • debbie
  • 04-10-21

Beautifully written

I find that some books are best read rather than listened to, to savour the writing, and this is one of those. I would like to see the words on the page. It’s undoubtedly beautifully written and read but doesn’t work for me as an audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dudi Appleton
  • 02-22-22

Just bit as good as it promised

This book has such a great premise - that you will see this conflict from every possible side. And it also has such an extraordinary true story at the heart of it. But it feels throughout that the writer promises a story that will humanise political events but decides that his job is to do that by dehumanising one side in order to achieve that. So that he really tells one side of an amazing story in multiple ways. Also if you’re going to try to shine light on frequently badly served peoples and cultures at least try to pronounce the names of people and places right. The author (reading his own book) mangles any Arabic or Hebrew words apparently without concern for the people he’s talking about. What should have been expansive and revealing and mind opening became a self satisfied diatribe at times from someone who has understood incredibly little from two families who turned their own horrific experiences into profoundly effecting action and activism.

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  • studywart
  • 06-25-21

Great book

This book has stayed with me - a very sensitive story beautifully told. A fabulous read!


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  • susan aldridge
  • 05-06-21

Unexpected perfection.

This audiobook was so wonderful in every way that I went out and bought the book!

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  • Alexandra Jones
  • 10-13-20

Mesmerising

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complicated and Colum McCann’s story responds with sophistication, sensitivity, nuance and depth. It is a great tribute to those on all sides searching for peace. I enjoyed listening to McCann’s narration - including his rhythm and Irish accent - and will certainly look out for his other novels.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-12-20

Closest capture of living in Israel and West Bank

Closest ever capture of living in Israel and West Bank outside of actually living there

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-01-20

Disappointing

Disjointed and disappointing. With every new sentence came a new chapter. I need a refund!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-06-21

Beautifully balanced storyline

Loved the story and it's historical context. Broke the mould of us versus them so delicately.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Henry
  • 07-14-21

Many stories within the story

Made up of 1001 chapters. Many chapters just a few words the longest about a page but each chapter can contain a greater story in itself. The overall story wasn’t what won it for me but the stories within the chapters. It lead me to research more from some chapters just out great interest.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lucy
  • 07-14-21

Column McCann weaves a golden thread through his novel

I am in awe of this writer.. a truly original storyteller that places vignettes of art history and nature as the story of two bereaved men on either side of the Arab- Israeli conflict come together to try to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine . A story that teaches on so many levels…

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-03-21

Horrible as an audio book

This is probably a great book. But it is horrible to listen to. 50% of the book is reading every chapter number as soooo many of the chapters are one line. There must have been another way to read it - maybe more as a poem without all those annoying chapter breaks

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-26-21

Breathtaking

Do not expect a linear read as McCann is exploring the complexities of war and the fragile possibility of peace. Hold this. Hold that. Everything is threaded to something else. Loved it. Will come back to it again and again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth C
  • 03-23-21

Felt a bit like being in a lecture theatre

This was a monumental book. I suspect it would be better read than listened to. The use of very short chapters came across as an annoying affectation in audio form. I also found the book didactic, which is ok if you like that sort of thing, but as a reference it would be better in text than audio. That said I persevered and overall am glad that I did.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-02-21

Conflict and grief on a macro and micro scale

As a reader with general knowledge of the IsraelPalestine conflict but no more, this was thought provoking and compelling listening. The novel format presents challenges as an audio book but the narration (by the author) is wonderful. There are 1001 chapters of fact and fiction, with many chapters just a phrase long - each providing a segue into a new tangent, relevant to the main story. Each chapter is prefaced by the chapter number which can be distracting at times - at other times it makes for a moment to savour. Beautifully written, angry, tender, funny, heartbreaking.... go on the journey.

1 person found this helpful