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Apeirogon: A Novel – Colum McCann

Could this be the start of Booker season?  I really hope so.  Last year I was very wrong with my hopes and dreams for On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.

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Apeirogon: A Novel – Colum McCann 
Published: February 25, 2020
Reviewed by: Nicole
Rating: 5/5

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Israel for business 3 times in the last 5 years.  I can’t get enough. This last visit in late February was my first visit to Palestine.  It brought the complex topic addressed in this book into clear(er) focus.  Looking through my photos, I think this one best represents this book.

Separation Wall

Ann Frank graffiti at the Separation Wall

A persecuted people persecuting more persecuted people.  An infinity of sides.

Quoting a quote in the book “Survival, in fact, is about the connection between things.” Connection was a strong theme.  Brilliantly done.  I’m completely obsessed – with the novel, and the topic.  (Side note:  I started this book on audio, and quickly realized that it would be better read in print.  Some of the chapters are very short – 3 words, some of the chapters are images.  I think some of the intricacies of the writing would be lost on audio, so I say give this one a read.  It is, by the way, narrated by the author.  Now that I’m finished reading it, I may give it a listen as well.)

McCann talks in the author’s note about how this is a work of fiction – and I totally understand that it is.  It is also non-fiction.  A lot of it.  Everything I googled while reading the book was truth.  I’ve really never read anything structured this way.  It told a history and outlined a complex issue in such an accessible way.

Perhaps it’s particularly relevant because I was just there and tread the path of Rami and Bassam.  I crossed the Palestinian border with a Palestinian.  I stared down the barrel of an automatic rifle held by an 18-year-old (that sounds super dramatic, LOL … it wasn’t like it was pointed at me, but you know, you look up and it’s in your face.  Cute little high school graduate with an AK-47 and AirPods doing the double-eye-contact thing they do when comparing your passport to your face.)  I felt the feelings you feel when you are driving on a road in Israel and with a pass of this sign you are suddenly in Palestine.

apartheid-road-sign

Aside from that, I would never pretend to understand what it must be like for these people.  Who have lost so much, who have fought so hard.  “There was always somebody who would know somebody.  Nobody in Israel lived unbomed.

McCann captured all of it elegantly and powerfully.  I want everybody to read this book.  I know it’s a two tiny countries (choosing to put it that way) on the world stage, but there is so much here as humans on this planet we should understand and act on … and if at all possible, do what we can, in any situation, to END THE OCCUPATION.

 

bethlehem

Church of the Nativity – Bethlehem, Palestine

 

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