I loved this book so much that I am scanning for and ordering everything else I can find that Barrett has written. Anyone who loved Lives Of a Cell, Notes Of a Biology Watcher would adore this book. The science is keenly drawn and explained, the historical fiction is richly imagined, and the blend is seamless.
A beautifully written collection of short stories, loosely tied together by the theme of heroic attempts - and failures- of science to create order out of the chaos that is the natural world. Some of the stories are definitely more riveting than others, but each in its own way quickly pulls you in and keeps your attention. A smartypants literary type read.
This is a beautifully written books of stories infused with science, nature and history. Intelligently done.
"In Barrett's hands, science is transformed from hard and known fact into malleable, strange, and thrilling fictional material."--Boston Globe
"Ranks with the best of the new wave of historical writing...Barrett courses back and forth over the history of science and the science of human relations in the nineteenth century, giving us the people behind the history--doctors, collectors, inventors, and women--a glory of passion, ambition, and love. This is just simply inspired writing." -- Douglas Glover
A collection of short stories mixing historical fiction with science. winner of the National Book Award.
The six short stories and title named novella are not science fiction, but fiction about science. The first story, 'The Behavior of Hawkweeds,' I found because of a lesson plan on the internet, is about Gregor Mendel, the scientist who stole his work on hawkweeds, and the third scientist who re-discovered Mendel's work. It's also about a retired contemporary professor whose field of genetics has gone past him, and his wife, whose grandfather knew Mendel. 'Ship Fever' is about a young and idealistic Canadian doctor trained in Paris, who goes to an island where the Canadian government is isolating starving Irish immigrants from the Great Hunger who are dying of typhus. There's another story about Linneaus in here and another one where he is offstage, English women are trying to get a way to study with him, but an important part. These are beautiful lonely, sad stories.
Beautifully written stories tied together with the theme of science.
I don't particularly like short stories and hardly ever finish an anthology, but I LOVED this book, and recommend it whenever I get a chance.
BRILLIANT PROSE.... HISTORICALLY INTRIGUING.... HOWEVER, A BIT SKIMPY ON EMOTION....... YET, DEFINITELY A MUST READ!
A series of short stories is always a fun approach to reading. These were exciting to me because their theme was personalities in science. I would have given it a higher rating, but I enjoyed some stories much more than others. Overall, if this is your interest, I recommend it. It was a nice book to read after Chrysalis Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis. I read Tulip Fever next, which made a nice transition of theme as well... :D Enjoy!