Seventeen Cities is a collection of seventeen short stories, each set in a different city of the world, all connected through seeds of the other stories. The book begins in Minsk, Belarus with a... More > letter written by a profoundly deformed teenage boy living in a hospital designated for survivors of the Chernobyl disaster as he copes with the death of the only person he ever loved. From there, the reader is taken into the home of a Manhattan stockbroker who unravels shortly after finding his name in the New York Times obituaries while eating breakfast. Next, to Rio where a mysterious man stumbles onto a hotel that contains all of time.
Seventeen Cities is a visceral book that mixes, twists, and bends genres. Each story is told in a different voice, some reminiscent of Latin magical realism, occasionally playing off of Kafka, others experiment with traditional literary fiction. Just as varied as its genres, are its themes, which include the nature of time and love, religion, coincidence, and transcending loss.< Less