Anthony Doerr’s use of the present tense, coupled with evocative descriptions, pulls the reader into his stories like a spring current pulls fallen trees into the river. Prose like this: Fog drags through the streets and moonlight pours into it like milk, is sheer delight to read. This collection of short stories is knit together by memory—the many forms of memory, from the tragedy of fading memories, borrowed memories, sweet and bittersweet memories, body memories, and the memory of water carving its way down from the mountains, searching for the body it longs to join.
Doerr seems to be scraping the inner walls of his own memory as he takes us with him to disparate locations like South Africa, Wyoming, Idaho, Korea, China, Ohio, Germany, and Michigan. Has the man truly been to all these locations? It certainly feels as if he has.
I found his story, Village 113, particularly moving and filled with novel ways of exploring that ephemeral thing we call memory: the memory of a mother’s womb for the child it carried, the memory of the infant’s eyes as it gazed back at its mother, the keen memory of elders, the memory of the land and of the seeds of the plants that hold the land together, the memory of home—of place. Oh how thin are the gossamer threads that tie us to our memories and how easily are those threads broken.
This is a copy of my Good Reads review: http://bit.ly/14ezx12