|Photo by Beowulf Sheehan|
Here's what the judges had to say about Colum McCann's Thirteen Ways of Looking:
"Part police procedural, part Ulysses, strung across the wirework of a Wallace Stevens poem, the title novella dazzles. It combines a playfulness for genre-melding with the delight of Mendelssohn’s wordplay with the author's wide-open empathy for every character—even the despicable Elliot—to open giant questions about race, aging, and especially class. And while so many layers—is the novella a retelling of Joyce’s 'The Dead'? a rumination on the culture of surveillance? do fathers bear the sins of their sons?—can be teased apart, tasted, and appreciated individually, at bottom the piece remains a gripping murder mystery, and compels a reader to consume it in a single gulp. In the three remaining stories, McCann continues to prove himself a master of sensory detail and the sentence fragment; the confrontation at the climax of 'Treaty' leaves one thrilled, nauseous, and fully-dilated. Few writers use prose this well to show how the human mind can simultaneously occupy multiple places and times."