Genre: Adult Fiction- with elements of non-fiction
Review by: Emma, Leixlip Library
Bassam Aramin is Palestinian. Rami Elhanan is Israeli. They inhabit a world of conflict that colors every aspect of their daily lives, from the roads they are allowed to drive on, to the schools their daughters, Abir and Smadar, each attend, to the checkpoints, both physical and emotional, they must negotiate.
Their worlds shift irreparably after ten-year-old Abir is killed by a rubber bullet and thirteen-year-old Smadar becomes the victim of suicide bombers. When Bassam and Rami learn of each other’s stories, they recognize the loss that connects them and they attempt to use their grief as a weapon for peace.
McCann crafts Apeirogon out of a universe of fictional and nonfictional material. He crosses centuries and continents, stitching together time, art, history, nature, and politics in a tale both heartbreaking and hopeful. Musical, cinematic, muscular, delicate, and soaring, Apeirogon is a novel for our time.
This is probably the most difficult book I have read all year it tells the story of two men who have lost their daughters to violence — Rami Elhanan, an Israeli whose thirteen year old daughter Smadar was killed by suicide bombers and Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian, whose ten year old daughter Abir, was shot after leaving a sweet shop. This is a very long, quite heavy and emotionally charged story of these two men who have found and befriended one another despite their cultural differences and have united over their grief of the loss of a child.
I would say this book was difficult for me to read due to the raw emotion and grief the reader can feel while reading the stories of these men – I won’t lie at some points I was in absolute tears and had to put the book down and walk away occasionally as some of the levels of description used in it was just too much for me personally. But ultimately this book is incredibly thought provoking, full of political commentary and a hugely emotional read.
This is a book that will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea and hand on my heart I can say I probably won’t be reading it again as these kind of books stray well outside of my usual reading genres. It is probably one of those books that will be most enjoyed by those of you who loved reading books like The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas or Schindler’s List. But I can definitely appreciate why this title was long listed for The Booker Prize.