Welcome to another post. How was your week? Mine was quite eventful. I went for a very fantastic musical set up by a fantastic crew, I had my annual sports meet on Saturday, I went to a lovely writers workshop in which we even got to meet a professional blogger and last but definitely not least – I fell into a puddle. So definitely not a dull week.
Any ways this week I am going to be reviewing a book that I was not so sure about going into. It was a slightly less known book by a author I didn’t know and moreover it was a novella. I am not a huge fan of this and went into the book with no expectations. But I was seriously caught off guard. So, today I am going to be reviewing ‘Thirteen ways of looking’ by Colum McCann.
This book is a collection of three completely raw and emotional stories with a strong influence of Irish culture. The stories- completely unrelated but has the same flair and technique that McCann delivers in a unique and interesting way.
Thirteen ways of looking (the first story) is an incredibly sharp story dealing with an old ageing man living in the bustling light of New York and reminiscing about his life. The story follows him meeting his distracted and ignorant son for lunch and later, when he is left alone, being brutally attacked causing a sudden and tragic death. The story has two perspectives. One of the man himself. One of the investigators trying to uncover his death through the complex psychology and slight movements- all caught in the simplicity of an everyday security camera. This story, according to me, is the most influential in the book as it is something the author has experienced himself. There is a very interesting segment towards the end of the book where he talked about this experience. The story has taken inspiration from the poem ‘ Thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird’ as a verse of the poem is written before every chapter.
I would love to go deep into the other stories but I thing going into the book without knowing what it’s about would be a better experience for you guys as a reader. That’s how I dived into the book and personally , I think that’s the best way to go into ANY book
This book was so truly fantastic. Honestly it delivers its message in the most philosophical yet subtle way possible, which captivates the readers immediately. I was so fascinated just by the very style of McCann’s writing. It is so poetic and really makes you think even over the dull day to day activities we do.It has the lovely blend of sharpness, wit, and sensitivity.And making a short story leave an impact on the reader is an incredibly difficult task to do. I was so very surprised by his work. I did not expect the book to have this slow and steady pace.Something truly beautiful he has created here. He definitely has a unique touch and I would love to read more of his works
The one element I saw that all the stories had in common was RAWNESS. The delivery is so raw and all the sugar coat and rainbows are stripped off. I can understand why one may not like this kind of delivery but I personally love it.The stories were so creative and original. I am pretty sure that I have not seen an idea in anyway similar to these in my teenage years. The plot, the setting, the character development , the crucial parts of a short story, were all there. These few elements are absolutely necessary to any story and I am extremely pleased with the way McCann has weaved it into his stories.You could see that the book also had a very strong influence of international cultures which I thought were very alluring as a reader.
The characters were strong and incredibly complex to the point where sometimes I felt it was quite hard hitting for a short story. I loved the characters and immensely enjoyed looking at the story from their POV but sometimes felt like they could be rendered down. Since the storyline itself was so complex, the character could have been moulded into something more simple. I also had a major issue with the tense. It was quite rocky and not the uniformity that I am used to. I don’t know if this was intentional or not but I do know that I am NOT a fan of it. Even though I really enjoyed the slow pace, at times I felt it could have been a bit faster. It was dragged where it wasn’t supposed to be.
But overall I would suggest it to EVERYBODY as it is, without a doubt, one of the best novellas I have ever read. I am really looking forward to read more of McCann’s works.
I would rate it 4.5 snow leopards out of 5
THANK YOU FOR READING!
See you all next week…