Natural History: Book summary and reviews of Natural History by Andrea Barrett

Natural History

Stories

by Andrea Barrett

Natural History by Andrea Barrett X
Natural History by Andrea Barrett
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About this book

Book Summary

A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

In Natural History, Andrea Barrett completes the beautiful arc of intertwined lives of a family of scientists, teachers, and innovators that she has been weaving through multiple books since her National Book Award–winning collection, Ship Fever. The six exquisite stories in Natural History are set largely in a small community in central New York state and portray some of her most beloved characters, spanning the decades between the Civil War to the present day. In "Henrietta and Her Moths," a woman tends to an insect nursery as her sister's life follows a different path. In "Open House," a young man grapples with a choice between a thrilling life spent discovering fossils and a desire to remain close to home. And in the magnificent title novella, "Natural History," Barrett deepens the connection between her characters, bringing us through to the present day and providing an unforgettable capstone.

Told with Barrett's characteristic elegance, passion for science, and wonderful eye for the natural world, the psychologically astute and moving stories gathered in this collection evoke the ways women's lives and expectations—in families, in work, and in love—have shifted across a century and more. Building upon one another, these tales brilliantly culminate to reveal how the smallest events of the past can have large reverberations across the generations, and how potent, wondrous, and strange the relationship between history and memory can be.


About the Author
Andrea Barrett is the author of nine previous works of fiction, including the National Book Award–winning Ship Fever and Pulitzer Prize finalist Servants of the Map. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an NEA Fellowship, as well as a finalist for the Story Prize and a recipient of the Rea Award for the Short Story. Having lived in Rochester, New York, and western Massachusetts, Barrett now resides in the Adirondacks.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A genius-enchantress. Who but Andrea Barrett can take on the inscrutable elegance of the cosmos and the messy complexity of the human heart in a single story?"― Karen Russell

"There is [in Andrea Barrett's writing] simply a sustained beauty of phrasing, a close care for the thing to be said and the best way to say it, that blend of precision and appropriateness that has always characterized the best prose, an attentiveness to the truth of human feeling that is in itself a supremely civilized value."― Barry Unsworth

"Andrea Barrett the storyteller pulls us relentlessly away from false comforts, into the dazzling, often chaotic, world as it really is."― April Bernard

"Andrea Barrett does not flinch from large subjects, yet her uncanny investigations into human curiosity are sensual and soul-enhancing, and always underlit by splendid intelligence."― Howard Norman

"In Barrett's hands, science comes alive for the reader―never staid or inflexible, but bursting with energy and ambiguity, a source of adventure, discovery, solace, and, for some characters, devastation."― Laura van den Berg

"To call Barrett our poet laureate of science is perfectly apropos, as long as we recognize that her specialty is the heart."― Dan Cryer

"[Andrea Barrett's] ability to navigate the universe's deepest mysteries with such a gentle touch is a marvel in itself."― Ruth Franklin

This information about Natural History was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Those assigned this book will receive a print copy by mail.

More Author Information

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