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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

Thirteen Ways of Looking

Colum McCann
Publisher
Bloomsbury
Price
£16.99
ISBN
9781408869833
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EXTRACT COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL

Among twenty snowy mountains, The only moving thing Was the eye of the blackbird.

The first is hidden high in a mahogany bookcase. It shows the full expanse of room where he lies sleeping on a queensize bed among a heap of pillows.

The headboard is intricately carved. The bedframe, sleigh-shaped. The duvet, Amish-patterned. An urn sits on the left bedside table, a stack of books on the right. An antique lantern clock with exposed weights and pulleys is hung on the wall near a long silver mirror, freckled and browned with age. Beneath the mirror, tucked in a corner, almost hidden from view, is a small oxygen tank.

Half a dozen pillows are placed in the armchair, away from the bed. Several cushions rest on an oak chair with leather arm­rests.

The writing table sits near the doorway, with a number of papers neatly towered, a silver letter opener, a seal embosser, an open laptop. There is a pipe on the desk but no tobacco box, matches, or ashtray.

The artwork is contemporary: three urban landscapes, sharp lines and blocks, and a small abstract seascape on the wall by the bathroom door.

Amid it all, he lies lumpen in the bed, a blanket-shape, his head little more than a blur.