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The Shell Collector

The Shell Collector

Stories

In this astonishingly assured, exquisitely crafted debut collection, Anthony Doerr takes readers from the African coast to the suburbs of Ohio, from sideshow pageantry to harsh wilderness survival, charting a vast and varied emotional landscape. Like the best storytellers, Doerr explores the human condition in all its manifestations: metamorphosis, grief, fractured relationships, and slowly mending hearts. Most dazzling is Doerr's gift for conjuring nature in both its beautiful abundance and crushing power. Some of his characters contend with tremendous hardship; some discover unique gifts; all arc united by their ultimate deference to the mysteries of their respective landscapes.
In "The Hunter's Wife," a hunter's profession is challenged when he learns that his wife can communicate with animal spirits. "For a Long Time This Was Griselda's Story" features two sisters in Idaho struggling to come to terms with the very different paths they have chosen, one traveling the globe with a sideshow and one remaining with her mother in their hometown. In "July 4th," a group of wealthy Americans enters a bet with a gang of British sportsmen: the first side to land the largest freshwater fish on each of the continents wins. The title story describes a blind marine biologist who isolates himself in a thatch-roofed kibanda in Kenya, only to be thrust into the spotlight when he accidentally discovers the cure for a fatal disease. Like all of Doerr's stories, it shimmers with beautiful language and transports readers to a perfectly realized, magical world of his own creation. The Shell Collector is an enchanting and imaginative debut by a young writer embarking on an important literary career.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743223621 | 
  • February 2002
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About the Author

Anthony Doerr
Photo Credit: Shauna Doerr

Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr is the author of the story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novels All the Light We Cannot See and About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won numerous prizes, including four O. Henry Prizes, three Pushcart Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

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