Anthony Doerr, Author . Scribner $25 (416p) ISBN 978-0-7432-6182-1

The majesty of nature, the meaning of courage, the redemptive power of love and the pathos of isolation—all are gracefully explored in Doerr's story of the price paid for a gift. So why does so little seem to happen in this beautiful, ponderous and sometimes monotonous first novel by the author of the exquisite collection The Shell Collector ? David Winkler has seen glimpses of the future ever since he was a boy. As a 32-year-old hydrologist in Anchorage, Alaska, he dreams of his future wife; soon they meet, fall in love and run away to Ohio, where she gives birth to their daughter, Grace. But when he dreams that he fails to save Grace from a flood, Winkler abandons wife and child, hoping to flee the future. He becomes a hermetic handyman on a Caribbean island near St. Vincent, befriended by a local family. The years pass until, emboldened by his surrogate family's grown daughter, a gifted marine biologist, Winkler realizes that he must embark on a journey to discover if Grace is alive. This is a lyrical tale tuned a bit too fine: Doerr's dreamy prose accords more attention to nature than character, so that Winkler, transfixed by the wonders of water and snowflakes but singularly unreflective about his actual life, is a frustratingly opaque protagonist. There are gorgeous moments here, but a stifling lack of story. Agent, Wendy Weil . 9-city author tour. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/30/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 685 pages - 978-1-58724-779-8
Paperback - 402 pages - 978-0-7432-6183-8
Paperback - 402 pages - 978-0-00-714699-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4025-9776-3
Paperback - 402 pages - 978-0-14-303616-6
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-4391-0378-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-9421-6
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-1-4767-8901-9
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