The Shell Collector

shellcollectorStunning. Eight stunning exercises in steel-tipped feathery fineness that no writer can read without envying… His is the all-knowing, all-seeing eye we find in D.H. Lawrence, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Pynchon, DeLillo, Richard Powers—writers able to pin down every butterfly wing and fleck of matter in the universe, yet willing to float the unanswerables about the ‘hot, hard kernel of human experience. —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“If you have stopped reading short stories because they have turned pretentious, silly or meaningless,” began Nancy Connors’ review in the Plain Dealer, “The Shell Collector is good reason to come back to this most American of forms.” The Boston Globe said the stories in the collection “don’t so much blur or diminish our place in the scheme of things as they blow open one’s perspective,” the LA Times declared it a “show-stopping debut,” and Library Journal called it a “tour-de-force of letters.”

In Doerr’s first book, a collection of eight stories, he takes readers from Kenya to Montana to Liberia to Maine. “Nature, in these stories,” said Publisher’s Weekly, “is mysterious and deadly, a wonder of design and of nearly overwhelming power.” The book, winner of the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, was a New York Times and Publishers’ Weekly Notable Book of 2002. The American Library Association named it an oustanding book of 2003, and Kirkus listed it in its top ten “undersung but richly deserving titles.” It also won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award and the Ohioana Book Award for fiction. Stories from this collection have appeared in both the O. Henry Prize Stories and the Best American Short Stories.

For those readers who are curious to learn more about cone snails, you can start by watching this silly video.

Doerr’s prose dazzles, his sinewy sentences blending the naturalist’s unswerving gaze with the poet’s gift for metaphor.—The New York Times


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