Memory Wall

Anthony Doerr

Set on four continents, Anthony Doerr’s new collection of stories is about memory: the source of meaning and coherence in our lives, the fragile thread that connects us to ourselves and to others.

In the luminous and beautiful title story, a young boy in South Africa comes to possess an old woman’s secret, a piece of the past with the power to redeem a life. In ‘The River Nemunas’, a teenaged orphan moves from Kansas to Lithuania to live with her grandfather, and discovers a world in which myth becomes real. ‘Village 113’ is about the building of the Three Gorges Dam and the seedkeeper who guards the history of a village soon to be submerged. And in ‘Afterworld,’ the radiant, cathartic final story, a woman who escaped the Holocaust is haunted by visions of her childhood friends in Germany, yet finds solace in the tender ministrations of her grandson.

The stories in Memory Wall show us how we figure the world, and show Anthony Doerr to be one of the masters of the form.

Reviews of Memory Wall

    • “It’s fair to say that Anthony Doerr is doing things with the short story that have rarely been attempted and seldom achieved. The stories in Memory Wall have such scope and depth that they hit as hard as novels three times their length. Doerr has set a new standard, I think, for what a story can do.” Dave Eggers
    • Praise for The Shell Collector:
    • ‘An extraordinary debut collection, filled with the vastness of the natural world pressing against human insignificance.’ Guardian
    • ‘A show-stopping debut, as close to faultless as any writer could wish for’ Los Angeles Times
    • ‘A fine collection… Doerr’s prose dazzles from the very beginning.’ New York Times
    • ‘Perilously beautiful, precise and elegant… Doerr can describe a woman running through a Tanzanian forest with the careful specificity of a scientist and the awe of a poet; he can give you a sunrise with the glory-bound colours of apricot and gold, and two pages later you’re meeting a young woman in Idaho, who falls in love with the metal-eater at the country fair… Breathtaking.’ Boston Globe
    • ‘Loss, estrangement and distance are the collection’s keynotes. Doerr frames and executes these stories with seemingly effortless panache.’ Economist