Synopses & Reviews
Ranging across two centuries, and from the western Himalaya to an Adirondack village, these wonderfully imagined stories and novellas travel the territories of yearning and awakening, of loss and unexpected discovery. A mapper of the highest mountain peaks realizes his true obsession. A young woman afire with scientific curiosity must come to terms with a romantic fantasy. Brothers and sisters, torn apart at an early age, are beset by dreams of reunion. Throughout, Barrett's most characteristic theme--the happenings in that borderland between science and desire--unfolds in the diverse lives of unforgettable human beings. Although each richly layered tale stands independently, readers of (National Book Award winner) and Barrett's extraordinary novel , will discover subtle links both among these new stories and to characters in the earlier works.
"Such scrupulous reportorial and rhetorical attention blends exactitude and compassion, giving clarity and emotional force to Barrett's investigations of people seeking to understand the laws that govern and trouble both the visible universe and their own invariably distinctive bodies and minds." Bruce Allen, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic review)
"[S]pellbinding....In these complex yet ravishing tales of scientific pursuits stoked by loneliness and desire, Barrett ponders the spiritual toll associated with exile from home and loved ones, and conflicts between the passion for learning and the demands of love and family life....Barrett's characters are deep and self-possessed, and their stories, so intelligently and delectably told, both romanticize and validate the quest for understanding life that drives scientists and artists alike." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"Ms. Barrett demonstrates her ability in these pages to write as persuasively about the mysteries of science as she does about the mysteries of the human heart, as vividly about distant landscapes as she does about the domestic rituals of daily life....Whereas in the past Ms. Barrett's storytelling sometimes curdled into melodrama and contrivance...these stories possess a wonderful clarity and ease, the serene authority of a writer working at the very height of her powers." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"Luminous....Each [story] is rich and independent and beautiful and should draw Barrett many new admirers."--, starred review
About the Author
Andrea Barrett makes her home in Rochester, New York. She is the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction (1996) and has received a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation and an honorary degree from Union College. She has taught in the MFA program for writers at the Warren Wilson College, has been a visiting writer at colleges and universities and a faculty member of numerous writers' conferences, including the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. She is currently a fellow at the Center for Writers and Scholars at the New York Public Library.