A Year in Reading: Colum McCann

December 2, 2011 | 1 book mentioned 1

coverThere are so many books. Always so many. They collide in my mind. Odd little decorations from the course of the year. But one of the most extraordinary experiences was reading an essay by Rabih Alameddine on Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet. Rabih’s essay was so gorgeous that I immediately felt envious. What was this book? Where had it been hiding all my life? I bought an old copy over the Internet. It arrived, wrapped in brown paper. A Penguin Classics edition. The book stunned me with its beauty. Rabih was correct, of course: it was one of the great books of our times. I had not read anything quite like it before. It was like opening Joyce’s back door and finding another genius there in the garden. The Book of Disquiet. To try to describe it would be to diminish it. But it will meet you some day and bring you down its alleyways of Lisbon ….

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is the award-winning author of five novels and two collections of short stories. His most recent novel, Let the Great World Spin,won worldwide acclaim, including The 2009 National Book Award in the U.S, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, a short-listing for the International IMPAC Award, as well as a 2011 literary award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

One comment:

  1. I love Pessoa’s “Book of Disquiet”. If I don’t entirely understand it, that’s okay. It’s one of those magical books: you can flip to any random page and be delighted. Thanks for the reminder.

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