Winner of the National Book Award for her collection of stories Ship Fever, Andrea Barrett has become one of our most admired and beloved writers. In this magnificent new book, she unfolds five pivotal moments in the lives of her characters and in the history of knowledge. In these brilliant fictions rich with fact, Barrett explores the thrill and sense of loss that come with scientific progress and the personal passions and impersonal politics that shape all human knowledge.
"Science & the human condition, beautifully written"
National Book Award-winner Andrea Barrett deftly blends fact and fiction to create this magnificent epic of Victorian polar exploration. An amazing wealth of period detail, heart-racing action, and engaging characters enable you to fully experience the 19th-century‘s romance with the mystery of the Arctic. In hope of making his reputation, scholar-naturalist Erasmus Darwin Wells embarks on a perilous expedition to the North Pole.
In the fall of 1916, Americans debate whether to enter the European war. "Preparedness parades" march and headlines report German spies. But in an isolated community in the Adirondacks, the danger is barely felt. At Tamarack Lake the focus is on the sick. Wealthy tubercular patients live in private cure cottages; charity patients, mainly immigrants, fill the large public sanatorium. For all, time stands still.
"Rich and absorbing"
Capturing a crucial moment in the history of exploration, the mid-19th century romance with the Arctic, Andrea Barrett focuses on a particular expedition and its accompanying scholar-naturalist, Erasmus Darwin Wells. Through his eyes, we meet the Narwhal's crew and its commander - obsessed with the search for an open polar sea - and encounter the far north culture of the Esquimaux. In counterpoint, we see the women left behind in Philadelphia, explorers only in imagination.
"It's cold out there"