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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In this enchanting and self-assured collection of stories, Anthony Doerr explores the human condition in its most elemental manifestation: man's relationship to the natural world. Doerr's gift is the conjuring of nature in all its elegant fertility, variety, and indomitable power. Some of his characters struggle with enormous hardship and grief; some undergo unwanted transformations; and some bravely face the changes that must be made in order to heal broken spirits -- but all are united by their final deference to the mysteries and unlimited potential of the world they inhabit.
In the title story, a blind man obsessed with the tactile beauty of seashells is torn from the seclusion of his seaside hut on the Indian Ocean and thrust into the media spotlight when an enigmatic guest is cured of a fatal disease by the sting of a deadly cone shell. "The Hunter's Wife" spins the tale of a sportsman whose complacency is challenged when his unusual wife forces him to experience the departing souls of wild animals. "Mkondo" is a compelling exploration of the nature of desire, in which a drab Ohio museum curator jumps bravely into a new world where everything he considered valuable is now rendered useless. And two sisters grapple with the repercussions of the different paths they have chosen in "For a Long Time This Was Griselda's Story."
In this truly profound fiction debut, Anthony Doerr brings his characters gracefully to life in richly evocative settings; here, each in their own way seeks the rapture of renewal and gains the ability to see the world clearly for the very first time. (Winter 2002 Selection)