Apeirogon, by Colum McCann (Bloomsbury 2020)

Neil's picture

What an achievement Apeirogon is! 450 pages, arranged in 1000 'chapters' of a few lines to a few pages in length, counting up to 500, then back down to 1. Based on the lives of two real people - one Israeli, the other Palestinian, drawn together by a tragedy in common - both lost daughters in acts of terror. It's a very difficult novel to even describe, as it pushes the boundaries of the form. Many of the chapters are digressions, on genocide, on the lives and habits of birds, on the effects of bombs, of bullets; all of them are significant, all of them add to the readers understanding, all of them add atmosphere. It's a superbly readable book, deeply moving, profound, unlike anything else I've read, and challenges what is possible from the novel. An extraordinary book.