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Apeirogon

Narrated by: Colum McCann
Length: 15 hrs and 20 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant!! So thought provoking, tear jerking, and raw.

The title is so fitting! This book is fabulous - simultaneously helps the reader to understand the situation better, and to understand how little they understand. I shed many a tear whilst listening to this wonderful audiobook.

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essential, beautiful, perfect

Every now and then I read something for which I think, 'I will treasure this.' Apeirogon is one in maybe twenty books like this for me. The importance of its message, the reality of it, the faultless delivery in word and voice, everything is utterly beautiful. This book should have won the Booker 2020. Nothing else, this year or last, has come close.