©2007 Andrea Barrett; (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks America
"This expertly paced and thoughtfully written book is ample testament to [Barrett's] gifts." (Elle)
"Barrett [writes in the] collective we, the voice of the crowd of convalescents. Details of New York tenements and of the sanitarium's regime are vivid and engrossing." (Publishers Weekly)
I love Andrea Barrett's story collection, Ship Fever, and this new novel is also terrific: complex, absorbing and intelligent, full of history but also good characters and a good story. There are even some elements of mystery.
As in Barrett's short stories, several of this novel's main characters are people who love science. Whether professional scientists or amateurs, they live ordinary and extraordinary lives that are often distorted by gender, social class, and politics. The complex but entirely credible plot plays out the combined effects of war, mass migration, chance, and individual psychology in the lives of several appealing and interesting main characters.
The reader is very good, although occasionally he gets his accents mixed up. This is a great book for a long, long drive.
This book is the perfect example of how the world's big events are just background to our private dramas for most of us, and what a struggle it is to escape from the confines of our small lives and our self-delusions into something bigger and more alive. It gives you a lot to think about.
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a good story with interesting historical background but I never quite got involved in the characters
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