I was a little afraid to read Anthony Doerr’s About Grace. I had read two of his short stories, “The Shell Collector,” and “Procreate, Generate.” Both were amazing. I was worried about making the leap to his first novel.
Oh, man, was I wrong to worry. Well, OK, I’m only on page 60, so I can’t say for sure whether he’ll pull this thing out. But my guess is yes, yes he will. Heck, I don’t care whether he does or not, really. The writing is so good that the plot could deadend and I wouldn’t care.
To be in love was to be dazed twenty times a morning: by the latticework of frost on the windshield; by a feather loosed from his pillow; by a soft, pink rim of light over the hills. He slept three or four hours a night. Some days he felt as if he were about to peel back the surface of the Earth — trees standing frozen on the hills, the churning face of the inlet — and finally witness what lay beneath, the structure under there, the fundamental grid. (p.25)
Out the windshield the stars were so many and so white they looked like chips of ice, hammered through the fabric of the sky. (p.37)
He has a way with verbs:
Water sighed in from the yard.
The flood hissed and murmured.
…watching the streetlights shudder in the wind.
I feel clumsy trying to write about his writing…It is graceful and earthy, and the sentences have the kind of rhythm and variation that you want them to have. This book is the kind of book that makes me want to underline bits like those above, but the kind of book that has me so completely engrossed (enraptured!) that I don’t want to stop and underline a thing. I just want to keep reading the writing.