To say this book is beautiful, extraordinary or moving is futile. In comparison with Anthony Doerr’s word-perfect prose, any description of his first novel seems trite. Just buy ‘About Grace,’ call in sick, switch off the phone and see for yourself how good contemporary fiction can be. —The Guardian
Doerr’s second book, a novel entitled About Grace, is about a hydrologist named David Winkler who occasionally dreams events that later come true. The book asks questions about snowflakes, predetermination, the nature of family, and the intersections of the human and natural worlds. The novel takes place in Alaska, the Caribbean, Ohio, and plenty of places in between. About Grace was a Book Sense76 selection, a Washington Post Bookworld Book of the Year, and a finalist for the PEN USA Fiction Award. The Book of-the-Month Club picked it as one of the five best books of 2004, and it topped the Seattle-Post Intelligencer’s best of 2004 list.
Doerr has crafted an immensely compelling story, one I’d be inclined to call a page-turner if his prose weren’t so arresting… And he’s able to discourse fluidly on scientific issues important to Winkler’s character in a way that not only avoids bogging down the narrative, but positively enriches it. Same goes for the more ponderous passages that deal with Nietzschean notions of eternal recurrence or rifts in space/time more commonly encountered in Stephen Hawking’s work than that of a novelist. ‘About Grace’ is a rare novel that succeeds at being smart without being pretentious; that revels in symbolism without being heavy handed; that uplifts without being sentimental.—The Daily Republic
Doerr traverses again the territory he had marked out in the stories of his lucent first book, the short-story collection ‘The Shell Collector’: a rapture with nature expressed in prose that sings off the page; an infinitely subtle algebra of resonance and sympathy between minds, lives, objects, light, senses, weather; the majestic indifference of nature; the proper measure of man against natural forces. Doerr has a compulsion for observation and a passion for nature that borders on the religious.—The New York Times
Doerr writes with elegiac beauty about human frailty and the power of nature, weaving complex metaphors into a literary carpet of dazzling numinosity… I can’t remember when a novel so entranced me. The only criticism I can muster is that About Grace is almost inhumanly faultless.—London Evening Standard
A formidable literary achievement… near perfect—The Independent