Apeirogon by Colum McCann [7/10]

Apeirogon” is a aching, meditative jumble of fact and fiction by one of our master, Colum McCann, author of one of my favorite novels, “Let the Great World Spin.” Hewing close to the amazing lives of Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian who reaches across the divide to Israelis (and studies the holocaust), and Rami Ethanan, an Israeli who opposes the occupation, the two of the united by wartime tragedies a decade apart, the two of them travelling together to bear witness to their own tales. But that plot snapshot barely touches the aspirations of “Apeirogon,” a long book of 1,001 mini chapters that interweaves the detailed stories of Bassam and Rami with a kaleidoscope of ruminations. McCann pivots from tightrope walker Philippe Petit to Mitterand’s last meal to the origins of rubber bullets. McCann writes deceptively readable prose that often climbs into poetry and is always rhythmic. The experimental structuring and the use of episodic fragments can distance the reader but over the book’s journey, the end result is a searing guitar solo to the spirit of goodness in the midst of evil.

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