Aug 13, 2020
Thirteen Ways of Looking
Posted by Colum McCann

From the National Book Award winning and New York Times bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic, comes a novella and three stories of immediate power and graceIt is a cold day in January when J Mendelssohn wakes in his Upper East Side apartment Old and frail, he is entirely reliant on the help of his paid carer, and as he waits for the heating toFrom the National Book Award winning and New York Times bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic, comes a novella and three stories of immediate power and graceIt is a cold day in January when J Mendelssohn wakes in his Upper East Side apartment Old and frail, he is entirely reliant on the help of his paid carer, and as he waits for the heating to come on, the clacking of the pipes stirs memories of the past of his childhood in Lithuania and Dublin, of his distinguished career as a judge, and of his late wife, Eileen Later he leaves the house to meet his son Elliot for lunch, and when Eliot departs mid meal, Mendelssohn continues eating alone as the snow falls heavily outside.Moments after he leaves the restaurant he is brutally attacked The detectives working on the case search through the footage of Mendelssohn s movements, captured by cameras in his home and on the street Their work is like that of a poet the search for a random word that, included at the right instance, will suddenly make sense of everything Told from a multitude of perspectives, in lyrical, hypnotic prose, Thirteen Ways of Looking is a ground breaking novella of true resonance Accompanied by three equally powerful stories set in Afghanistan, Galway and London, this is a tribute to humanity s search for meaning and grace, from a writer at the height of his form, capable of imagining immensities even in the smallest corners of our lives.

  • Title: Thirteen Ways of Looking
  • Author: Colum McCann
  • ISBN: 9781408869833
  • Page: 410
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Thirteen Ways of Looking From the National Book Award winning and New York Times bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic comes a novella and three stories of immediate power and graceIt is a cold day

    Debbie

    Oh shit A writer I never heard of, a collection of short stories What had I signed up for Short stories are so iffy so often they are too subtle, which translates into boring, or they try to be all artsy with an ambivalent ending Guys, this collection one novella and three short stories gets five stars The language alone made my head dance I talk about the novella the most because it s the heftiest, taking up over half the book This review is WAY too long, so I won t be offended if you just scan [...]


    Angela M

    I am not a good reader of short fiction I m always anxious that I ll turn the page, the story will be over and then I ll be left wondering did I get it , did I miss something Then I ll have to move on to the next story still thinking about the last one But there was no anxiety for me here with Colum McCann s collection of a novella and three shorter works because reading even a sentence by this man is so worth it This is a powerful collection written in beautifully perceptive language.In the tit [...]


    Perry

    Wookin Pa Nub in all da wong paces.Buh weet Sings, 1981 SNL, Eddie Murphy Thirteen Ways of Looking is a mesmerizing collection of a novella and three short stories Irish author Colum McCann s radiant writing seems the consummate soother of the ever shuffling soul while his stories stir one s deepest sentiments a child disappears overnight from his mother s bed at a seaside resort a writer goes through the stop and go process of writing a short story on distant lovers a nun faces her fears and re [...]


    Diane S ☔

    As soon as one steps into these stories, it is apparent to readers of McCann that you are entering a world only he can create He notices the little things in life, and in simple but brilliant prose relates these to the reader It is this talent that lets readers thoroughly become one with the story.In this collection he tackles some tough themes, the way a writer writes and where his ideas come from, aging and the mental and physical changes this beings Memory and how it can be evoked by a simple [...]


    Kelli

    This was my first by Colum McCann In a year where short stories are having quite an impact on me, this is yet another uniquely styled and beautifully rendered collection Unlike anything I have read yet, these stories though very different from one another seem to share an honest look at the human condition we think, rethink, question our actions, what if Intense character studies, beautiful prose, and raw emotion delivered in an almost stream of consciousness I am so pleased that I happened upon [...]


    Elyse

    Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird Wallace Stevens1 among twenty snowy mountains,The only moving thingWhat is the eye of the Blackbird 2 I was at three mindsLike a treeIn which there are three blackbirds3 The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.It was a small part of the pantomime.4 A man and a womanAre one A man any women any blackbirdAre one 5 I do not know which to prefer,The beauty of inflectionsOr the beauty add innuendoes,The black bird whistlingOr just after 6 icicles filled the lo [...]


    Zoeytron

    The we know of time, the less we have of it Thirteen Ways of Looking is the story of an elderly man as he goes about his daily routine, dealing with the inescapable indignities that go along with old age, all the while missing his wife The characterization is impeccable and haunting, for this is the morning of the last day of his life He meets his son for lunch, but son is there in body only, taking call after call on his cell phone, never even making eye contact with his father It made my hear [...]


    Esil

    Such a treat to read such good writing Thirteen Ways of Looking is a novella followed by 3 short stories written by Colum McCann I read and loved Let the Great World Spin And I can say the same about this book, especially the opening novella,Thirteen Ways of Looking that on its own accounts for my 5 star rating McCann portrays a day in the life of an 82 year old man, which happens to be his last day The man is a retired judge living in Manhattan s upper east side In every other chapter, we hear [...]


    Julie Christine

    The mood Traced in the shadow An indecipherable cause Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a BlackbirdColum McCann traces the shadows of tension and love, despair and tragedy in this collection of one novella and three short stories pieces that held me transfixed with their poignancy and fierce energy The title story which opens the collection is like a tightly scripted short film, the camera moving from the close ups of former Brooklyn Supreme Court judge Peter Mendelssohn, his inner di [...]


    Dem

    3.5 Stars, Thirteen ways of Looking by Colum McCann consists of a Novella and 3 short strories I am not a fan of short stories as they rarely work for me but with the right author short stories can be quite interesting and entertaining.I enjoyed the Novella which told the story of a retired elderly judge living in New York in today s world of suverlience The story is well plotted and as usual with all McCann s books the prose is poetic and vivid While I loved the writing I did find sections wher [...]


    Larry H

    I d rate this 4.5 stars.Full disclosure I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for making it available Colum McCann s Let the Great World Spin was a highly heralded, award winning novel that I never could get into I tried several separate times to read it and could never get past the first few pages But seeing so many glowing reviews of his new short story collection, Thirteen Ways of Looking, from a num [...]


    Ij

    This audiobook includes a novella and three 3 short stories I enjoyed them all The book is narrated by the author, Colum McCann, who provided an excellent reading I like stories dealing with real life emotions and situations This book did not let me down.The title of the book, Thirteen Ways of Looking Fiction comes from the novella which is about a retired judge and his struggles dealing with old age, being a widower, and a selfish son A lot can happen in one day.Sh khol is about a women living [...]


    Ron Charles

    Colum McCann s new collection includes a piece that sounds like the classic high school cop out It s a story about a writer trying to write a story That McCann manages to overcome the necrotic cliche of that premise is a sign of his technical skill that he makes the story so emotionally compelling is a sign of his genius What Time Is It Now, Where Are You is the shortest piece in Thirteen Ways of Looking, and the only one that feels autobiographical, though McCann claims in the Author s Note tha [...]


    Maxwell

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review All thoughts are my own.Having read a few Colum McCann books beforehand both short stories, novellas and novels I went into this with a decent understanding of his writing style It s beautiful He is able to craft the most fluid sentences that appeal to so many of your senses The stories in this collection are lyrically written, honest and at times harrowing, never lacking power.The title novella, Thirteen Ways of [...]


    Iris P

    What a treat was listening to Colum McCann narrating these stories This is a wonderful collection, will try to come back later with a detail review, but I really enjoyed these, particularly the novella that gives its name to the book.


    Connie

    Colum McCann has written a marvelous collection of short fiction where he takes the reader into the minds of the protagonists Some of his stories involve acts of violence which he can write about convincingly McCann himself was a victim of an attack after he tried to help a woman who was being abused on a New Haven sidewalk.The title story Thirteen Ways of Looking starts each section with a verse from Wallace Stevens poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird An aging retired judge wakes, lame [...]


    Tony

    There are four stories here, one of novella length One is a short piece about a short story writer, hard on a deadline, who is going through the process, hurriedly, of writing a story The less said about that one, the better.Sh kholSh khol is a Hebrew word meaning a parent whose child has died There are similar words in Sanskrit and Arabic I take this on faith , but none in Russian, French, German, Irish There is no such single word in English.Our protagonist is a translator of Hebrew literature [...]


    Alena

    I will never tire of the beauty and vulnerability of McCann s writing He s a master story teller, pulling me into this novella and accompanying stories immediately For the first time in months I couldn t wait to get home and return to the worlds he builds, the people who seem so familiar.From the start of the first title story, I was born in the middle of my very first argument, I was hooked As the title character struggles with the indignities and loneliness of aging, I recognized this man In h [...]


    Chrissie

    How do you rate a book that both disappoints and at the very same time gives pleasure This book consists of one novella, having the same name as the title of the book, and three short stories 1 What Time Is It Now Where Are You 2 Sh khol A Hebrew word for loss of a child 3 TreatyI have read just about all of McCann s books I love his lines How he expresses himself Pure poetry in my ears He looks at people and things and events and captures their essence through just a few words Compassion, guilt [...]


    Jill

    The title of this new Colum McCann collection one novella followed by three short stories is unabashedly borrowed from Wallace Stevens haiku like poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird an exercise in varying perspectives that issue from the poet s imagination.It s almost like a Rubik s Cube turn the author s imagination this way and one thing will appear turn it another way and something else comes to the surface Yet every single movement centers around how we search for meaning, narrativ [...]


    Cheryl

    Poets, like detectives, know the truth is laborious it doesn t occur by accident, rather it is chiseled and worked into being, the product of time and distance and graft The scaffolding of the title story is Wallace Stevens poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird each stanza is the epigraph to the thirteen parts of the story, and each part in some obscure way pays homage to the poem a famous one but completely unfamiliar to me The story plays with different ways of seeing, both physically a [...]


    Rebecca Foster

    This is the first I ve read from McCann, and it s terrific The title novella starts off as the simple story of J Mendelssohn, an octogenarian who wakes up on a snowy morning in his New York City apartment, contemplating his past Lithuanian Polish ancestry, work as a judge and marriage to Eileen, whom he met as a boy in Dublin and planning to meet his son at a restaurant for lunch But all of a sudden it turns into a murder mystery on page 24 Later the homicide detectives will be surprised In 13 s [...]


    Erin

    ARC from NetGalley A novella, Thirteen Ways of Looking and three short stories, What Time Is It Now, Where You Are , Sh khol and Treaty are all absolutely outstanding and each completely distinct from the other While the plots are all excellent, it the way the McCann absolutely wallows in his delight in the use of language, and the reader with him this is especially obviously in Thirteen Ways where the primary character, a retired judge is also a bit of a wordsmith.I could give a one sentence su [...]


    Susan Johnson

    This book containing one novella and three short stories literally sang it s way off the paper This book could almost be poetry with it s evocative writing and strong descriptions The first story deals with Mr Mendellssohn and what turns out to be a very important day for him An elderly retired jurist he brings to life the indignities of aging He is assisted by a cheerful caretaker, Sally, and rails against the dying light The ending is quite ambiguous but life really is that The short stories d [...]


    Stef Smulders

    The author took the rather incomprehensible poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird as starting point for this collection All stories have 13 parts, like the poem but in the first each part of the poem is taken as a motto for each chapter It really escapes me why The connection between poem and story seems stretched and not all that clear The story is perfect as it is without the poem And there is poetry in the magnificent and moving Sht kol story than in the entire Wallace Stevens poem


    Bianca

    3.5 starsI wasn t familiar with Colum McCann s work, but I saw that some of my GR friends loved this book, so I requested it on NetGalley.I was captivated right from the beginning I thought to myself, could this be another Banville a great Irish writer, for those not familiar with his name Not quite, at least not based on this collection.Thirteen Ways of Looking is the longest story and it was my favourite All because of the octogenarian retired judge, Mendelssohn, who is a very interesting char [...]


    Barbara

    4.5 stars I m a huge fan of Colum McCann Generally I don t favor books of short stories, but when McCann is the author, I read The first story, which is of a novella, is entitled Thirteen Ways of Looking It s a story of a day of a retired New York City Judge It s the inner musings really, of the judge McCann s prose is brilliant The Judge s musings are not only authentic they are comedic I thought McCann got into my Grandpa s mind, realizing the fumbling of old age and attempting to accept it w [...]


    Jessica Woodbury

    A lovely collection of stories revolving mostly around sudden, unexpected tragedies or surprises McCann remains a writer of lovely, lilting prose that doesn t feel like it s taking too long to get to the point I highly recommend experiencing it on audio While short fiction has its drawbacks in that medium mostly the sudden switch to a new story, which you can miss if you happen to tune out at the wrong second , McCann reads this himself and his gentle, flowing Irish voice lulls you into the stor [...]


    Carol

    3.5 Stars


    Barbara

    Thirteen ways of Looking, the name of the title novella, is taken from a Wallace Stevens poem McCann s story, we know from the start is about the final day in the life of a retired Brooklyn judge This phrase may refer to the security street cameras the police use in an attempt to determine what happened to the judge Judge Mendelssohn s late wife Eileen was Irish, and Mendelssohn lived in Dublin as a boy Though a Jewish American, he may remind readers of the famous Irish Jewish character Leopold [...]



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