Book Review: Apeirogon by Colum McCann

January 27, 2020


Apeirogon by Colum McCann is the contemporary –historical-fiction (I don’t know how else to describe it) of the path crossed by an Israeli man and a Palestinian man, both who lost young daughters. Mr. McCann is an award winning and bestselling author.

  • 480 pages
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400069602

Book Review: Apeirogon by Colum McCann
My rating for Apeirogon5
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Nothing I write can do justice to this book.

Apeirogon by Colum McCann is an extraordinary book, it’s different in narrative and structure, yet poignant and able to make its point. Mr. McCann uses the real-life tragedies of the Elhanan and Aramin families to review a history of this age old conflict, and the unexpected and innocent casualties it collects along the way.

Some parts of the book are not for the faint of heart, there are graphic descriptions of what happens when you stand next to a suicide bomber, get shot in the head with a rubber bullet, or detonate a suicide vest on your person. The narrative is not straight forward, but is symmetrical, you can read the book forwards or backwards and still get the story.

Mr. McCann tries to put the tragedies, not excuse them, in historical context along with tangents which are somewhat related to either the personal stories, or overall themes. In this way the author succeeds in putting in context events from the far, and recent, past and show us how sometime insignificant events might have large consequences, and people who pay a very personal price. The narrative is simple, but sends a strong message.

The tangents move around in time, past to present, creating an emotional effect which is a testament to the author’s immense talent. The author takes big chances with this book, and the payoff is tremendous. This is a very personal book, not an overarching history like Peace in the Making, but something many of us can sadly relate to.


Rami Elhanan, an Israeli, and Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian, live their daily lives in a fractured area of the world. They both negotiate their respective daily challenges until the unthinkable happens when their daughters die violently. Rami’s daughter, Smadar, dies as the victim of a suicide vest. Bassam’s daughter, Abir, dies after she was shot in the head with a rubber bullet.
Smadar was 13.
Abir was 10.

Rami and Bassam learns of each other’s story and recognize the connection they have. While forging a strong friendship, they attempt to use their grief to try and get people to talk and solve problems instead of using violence.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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