Anthony Doerr is a magician. Okay, end of review.
No, but seriously, this guy is one of the best writers I've ever had the pleasure of reading. From his poetic prose to his short chapters that are the perfect length so that you feel like the story is moving incredibly quick; from his slightly magical twists on the world to his incredible understanding of how humans function... He's a phenomenal writer.
So, The Shell Collector is a collection of short stories. While the first story, which the book takes its name from, gives a good taste of his style, the first story I fell in love with from this collection is The Hunter's Wife, a beautiful tale about two people that fall in love, but come from two very different worlds.
But it's two of the last few stories that make me so passionate about this bunch of short stories. Two of my favourite EVER short stories are The Caretaker and Mkondo. The former follows a man that finds himself in his home country during a civil war, and where his life takes him; the later is yet another love story, in a way, that explores some very interesting dynamics.
Perhaps one of my favourite things about these stories is how Doerr finishes the story. He leaves things open to interpretation somewhat, lets you fill in the gaps. As they are stories that discuss how life can be fragile and hinge on small things, it seems fitting that an ending could go in multiple directions, that each time the story was played out in his head he couldn't see it go one way or another. The journeys are seriously breathtaking.
Read this author, there's a reason he's one of the biggest names at the moment (see All the Light we Cannot See, winner of a Pulitzer). Stories mentioned by name within review: 5/5. All others 4-4.5/5.