Field Guide: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview



In this mesmerizing first novel a young American graduate student abandons her research deep in the Australian rain forest to investigate her professor's mysterious disappearance.

Annabel Mendelssohn has an unusual but oddly satisfying life -- studying spectacled fruit bats in the rain forest of Australia. She spends her free time discovering waterfalls and e-mailing her sister, Alice, who has settled for the more domesticated science of ...
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Field Guide: A Novel

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Overview



In this mesmerizing first novel a young American graduate student abandons her research deep in the Australian rain forest to investigate her professor's mysterious disappearance.

Annabel Mendelssohn has an unusual but oddly satisfying life -- studying spectacled fruit bats in the rain forest of Australia. She spends her free time discovering waterfalls and e-mailing her sister, Alice, who has settled for the more domesticated science of grant administration. Although she has an unfriendly roommate and occasionally fears that loggers will disturb her bats, all seems to be going according to plan, until Annabel's mentor, the enigmatic Professor John Goode, suddenly disappears.

Haunted by the ambiguous circumstances surrounding her brother's death two years earlier, Annabel becomes obsessed with finding the professor. Meanwhile, after learning of his father's disappearance, Leon Goode leaves his teaching job in a Boston museum to join the search. In the vibrant, unpredictable rain forest, Annabel and Leon come to realize that truth reveals itself in more ways than one.

As it unmasks the secrets of the rain forest and of tangled human emotions, this deftly written and suspenseful tale casts a spell over mind and heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The certitudes of scientific research yield to the unsolvable mysteries of emotional connection in this accomplished debut. Annabel Mendelssohn, 28, opts to do her graduate work on spectacled fruit bats far from home, at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. True, she is impassioned by her studies, but she also needs to process the death of her marine biologist brother, Robert, who was killed in a diving accident two years before. Robert suffered from clinical depression; his death looked suspiciously like suicide. Annabel relies on her married sister, Alice, who works in grant administration in Connecticut and has her own secrets, to be her link to home and family while she adjusts to her new surroundings, e-mailing disavowals of her growing attraction to her charming, absentminded professor, John Goode, who is undergoing a divorce. When Professor Goode disappears abruptly, his intimates wait a while before they become concerned, since he's known for "forgetting everything important for long enough to lose it." But eventually his 28-year-old son, Leon, comes home to Australia from Boston, where he works at a museum, to help look for the wayward professor. When his search through the jungle intersects with Annabel's derailed bat research, they join forces, and Annabel's longing for her brother is displaced somewhat by her anxiety about Leon's father: their bond, she thinks, is enhanced by her "expertise in being left." Gross's deceptively spare style glistens with pungent language and precise aper us. Annabel's keenly observed evocation of the fecund rain forest is counterpointed by her wry insights about herself and her family. Though the book settles to a comfortable, obvious close, Annabel's double quest to discover the meaning of absence, set against the mysterious tropical world teeming with life, has a satisfying symmetry. (Apr. 4) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
American graduate student Annabel Mendelssohn is still grieving the loss of her brother in a diving accident when she embarks on a scheduled journey to study spectacled fruit bats in the rain forest of Queensland, Australia. In e-mail messages home to her concerned older sister, she details her impressions of these curious creatures and of the various human specimens she encounters along the way. Assigned as her project director is the attractive and eccentric Professor John Goode. He proves to be an enthusiastic and supportive mentor but then mysteriously disappears before she can complete her work. When the professor's son, Leon, also a scientist, is called home from Boston to look for his father, Annabel abandons her project to join him in the search. Predictably, over shared chasms of loss, they connect. Although somewhat scattered in focus, this beautifully written debut novel offers appealing characters and provides a unique view into the sensuous scientific world of field study with all of its attendant hardships and marvels. Recommended for all public libraries. Sheila Riley, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In precise and lyrical prose, newcomer Gross spins this gorgeously melancholic tale of two scientists from opposite ends of the globe whose paths eventually cross. Still confused about her marine biologist brother's death by drowning-was it accident or suicide?-American Annabel Mendelssohn arrives in a remote region of Australia to observe fruit bats as part of a graduate program in field studies. Ambitious and eccentric, Annabel feels alienated from the other students, especially her roommate, Sabrina, a catty blond who fills their room with "toxic-waste face paint . . . curlers and thong underwear," and seems more interested in bagging Lars, the program's pretty boy, than studying. Despite her serious attitude toward work, Annabel, though, finds herself attracted to John Goode, the 50-ish professor overseeing her project. A reckless genius with mismatched eyes (one brown, one blue), Professor Goode has recently separated from his wife of many years in a postlude to his first affair. Their son, Leon, reacts with rage. Depressed and disillusioned with hard science-his father's terrain-Leon drops out of graduate school at Harvard, takes a job as an educator at the Boston Museum of Science, and obsesses over his shapely co-worker Ursula. When Professor Goode disappears without a trace, Leon flies home and sets off in search of his father. That journey leads him to Annabel, who has been living alone in the rainforest watching her bats. Still feeling an intimate connection to John Goode, she leaves her research to accompany Leon on his quest. The two annoy each other at first, then fall in love. Meanwhile, Gross has an amazing ability to convey the subtlest emotional shifts; her novelthrumswith psychological intensity, and there's no shortage of acerbic wit. In Annabel, she's created a quirky character with the staying power of L.M. Montgomery's Anne Shirley. Stunning. A remarkable debut.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429963046
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/4/2001
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 622,581
  • File size: 242 KB

Meet the Author

Gwendolen Gross


Gwolen Gross was selected for the PEN West Emerging Writers Program and completed an M.F.A. in Poetry and Fiction at Sarah Lawrence College. She spent a semester in Australia researching spectacled fruit bats. Field Guide is her first novel.
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Read an Excerpt


Field Guide
Part IOneYou could fly into Townsville, the small university town on the northeast edge of the island-continent, but Annabel took the student's cheap route; there'd been two buses, five airplanes, and a van ride. She grew numb to discomfort after the traveling-hour tally reached the twenties. She'd left on an icy January morning in Chicago and emerged, dry-mouthed and sticky with the sour stench of airplane air, into a balmy Australian summer night. When she arrived at her dorm, she flopped onto her futon and fell asleep.Someone was yelling, a few hours later, wake wake wake, the accent Australian. Annabel, still dressed, wandered into the hall, where a half-dozen others were stumbling toward the door. They were herded to a van for a ride to the lake and the dawn chorus. There was a picnic under a shelter, strange hard biscuits, the sky still dark. Then they sat by the lake with a professor, Professor Goode, who had a wide pinkish face and one dazzling blue eye, the other brown. He whispered the names of birds, common first, then Latin, as they started in occasional bursts, then began toflood the pan of the lake and the forest with squawking, hooting, whistling.The professor's voice was warm, quiet, and distinctly Aussie. At first the calls were spare--a rustle, a short honk. The laugh of the kookaburra, like the chimp from the old Tarzan movies. Then a flock of parrots crossed the lake, raucous and flat, screaming their echoes across the water and flying in dark yellow-and-blue bands over the tops of the eucalyptuses."Pale-headed Rosella," whispered the professor. "Platycercus ad--"A frog made a rippling bellow before he could finish the Latin, and Professor Goode smiled. "Frog," he whispered.Annabel laughed quietly at his puckish expression. Soon the sounds were a flood, and his commentary was hard to hear, too many birds to follow.It filled Annabel with pleasure, the quiet canvas and the strange colors of the sounds, the not knowing everything. At home she'd identify them: black-capped chickadee, cardinal, tufted titmouse. The birds here had the wild names she'd been reading in the guidebooks, and the wild sounds to go with them. She made a grid in her notebook and ticked off a tally of birdcalls in five-minute segments: 4:55, two kookaburras, a rainbow lorikeet, three sulfur-crested cockatoos. The tick marks quickly clustered as she tried to keep up.The sounds subsided into background as the separate rays of sunlight blended into a room full of light. Annabel could see the professor's face now, intent, as he let a handful of soil from the bank slip though his fingers. He'd said the birds' names as if they were friends. There was somethingAnnabel recognized in him, in the way he listened, attention absolute. Maybe it was that he wanted everyone else to know, to hear the details of the dawn chorus's complicated music. He knew it well, but still he listened with amazement in his expression, the two-colored eyes focusing on the feathered sources or toward hidden perches. She liked it when he looked at her; his wonder shot through her. Her own eyes were tender and tired.She'd counted the calls of fifteen species of birds; she'd seen the dull dormant form of an orchid--a ball of deadlooking roots--and a startled, hissing, blue-tongued skink. Coming back around the lake, Annabel walked into a web and rattled a spider as big as a dinner plate, who made for her face. The front legs brushed her cheek before she backed up and slammed into the man behind her. It all had a groggy, dreamlike feeling. Annabel wanted to shake it off, the thickness, but even the rain-forest air was dense in her lungs. Jet lag, she reminded herself, doesn't rub off. It has to fade. 
When they came back to James Cook, there was another meal, outside at picnic benches with the rest of the graduate students, whom Annabel thought she ought to be meeting, but she felt too slow to say much. Her roommate, Sabrina, introduced herself to the men, her voice low. She was wearing a V-neck tank top, and smelled of some syrupy eau de toilette, instead of forest and sweat and lack of sleep."Hey, roommate," Annabel said.Sabrina grimaced cutely and pretended not to hear. Fine, Annabel thought, I don't like you either.Annabel was shrinking. An apple in a very hot oven, wrinkling. Pungent.She sat down next to the man she'd stumbled against that morning, Markos. Even sitting, he was tall, and his skin was the almost-translucent freckled variety peculiar to some redheads. Annabel looked at the freckles on his chin, wanting to connect the dots with a pen."What's your field?" she asked. "Animal, vegetable, or mineral?""Mmm," said Markos. "Oh, uh, vegetable." He waved a carrot stick at her, then took a bite. "Epiphytes. You?"God, am I boring, thought Annabel. "Bats," she said. Bats aren't boring, though--bats get a bad rap, but they fly and cross-pollinate. Annabel looked at the pier, with its two barnacle-crusted fishing boats, the program's small research ship beside them. The other pier was where the ferries for Magnetic Island docked, and the yacht that shuttled tourists around the bay. Soon I'm out of here, she thought, soon to my bats."Sorry," he said. "It's because of all the travel, or whatever, but what's your name again?"Boring and forgettable, she thought."Um, uh, Annabel.""You almost forgot?""Oh, jet lag.""Oh. Markos." He ate the rest of the carrot. "Truly groggy. Going back to dorms. Speaking in staccato." He laughed at his own joke.He's more entertaining to himself than I am, thought Annabel. "I'll walk with you."Clearly, she thought, this isn't going to be a social coup, but at least I won't be distracted when the work starts. Soon, she thought, hearing the word with each step, soon.They walked back along the path, not uncompanionably, Annabel hoped, but quiet in their own capsules of sleepiness and thought. Parrots were fighting over fruit at the base of a mango tree; there were the smells of warm fruit, rot, and sea. The sun was flat and hard; even the late afternoon sun was potent, but good against her tired skin.At the dorm house, there was a line for the showers. When she was finally under the spray, Annabel soaped and washed, scrubbing the travel grime. Then she settled in on her futon, trying to sleep as the sun waned against the window shades. All she could picture were the crabby, jetlagged faces of the other students, their tired expressions and pale skin like hers. She tried to conjure the layers of the rain forest, from floor to canopy. She started with the thin soil at the bottom, imagined the vines reaching up into the lower trees, the sharp palm fronds starting at her height, cutting light into triangles, then higher, where the orchids' dazzle of purple and orange split the browns and greens. She looked up behind closed eyes to see more epiphytes filling in the rare spaces where the sun wove its fingers through the tops of the trees. And bats; in her version, there were bats camped on the branches. She hadn't seen them yet, but she knew they'd be there. 
The next afternoon, she sat on a chair with a split cushion and a single rolling wheel, typing an E-mail message to her sister in Connecticut. The other side of the world. The Australian university had arranged the computer trailer for the graduate field-science program--she was short for the setup; her feet didn't quite reach the floor. The trailer smelled of mold and eucalyptus, and already it seemedfamiliar: the odor, the metal-framed window stuck open a few inches, the burst of green and yellow light from outside, the sound of her own breathing and key-clicking. She could imagine working on a final draft of her research project here, knowing something about her bats that no one else knew--some profile of relevance about their daytime activities assembled from thousands of observations--pointillistic dots that looked like nothing up close, but became a picture if you stepped away. She had faith in that discovery, a sense of pleasant possibility, belief that her efforts would be meaningful.Now Alice, Annabel thought, might not always have faith. Her sister was always steady in action--her sturdy strides down the aisle at her wedding, her march forward in marriage, the regular relationship with their parents, her job--but Annabel thought maybe faith ran through Alice in uneven veins. Annabel had her own doubts sometimes, looking up close at too many dots. What could she honestly have to say, one human, watching bats? 
Sender: (Annabel Mendelssohn) AMendelss To: AEMendel Subject: Hello! Hello! Wednesday, January 17, 1996 
Alice, my dear, hello from Oz. Do you know if Mom is on-line yet? Are you still calling her every week? 
Arrived, got the James Cook University standard visitors' housing--it's a real house, but incrediblycramped, or might I say COZY. Got a roommate who appears to be a monster of vanity, but I should give her a chance anyway, right? I'm sure you would. But she's already stacked up hair sprays and toxic-waste face paint and removers and curlers and thong underwear and a whole sequined pile of nightclothes in her corner, and it's spreading. Environmental Ethics and Soil Science 201 are really chichi classes, I plan to wear my stilettos. Two dozen grad students, and I get her. Okay, maybe I'm crabby from jet lag. You know I'm not a TOTAL snob. 
Other than the roommate, I've met a few decent people in the program. One guy, Markos, went to West High around the same time Kevin did ... I don't remember his last name, though. Did I tell you they had us out on a field trip already? We recorded dawn chorus in some tiny strip of rain forest. Saw a bandicoot, rainbow lorikeets, roseolas--weird marsupial, amazing parrots, but it's hard to fully appreciate anything on only two hours of sleep. So, more later. Let me know if you get this. 
Love, Annabel 
p.s. Is it snowing? I'm on my second summer!! (Don't be too jealous.) 
 
Annabel pushed her disorderly reddish hair behind her ears. She wasn't sure she should've said all that about theroommate, but she had to confide in someone, she had to talk with Alice somehow, and E-mail was free. She had friends who would write from Chicago, and she had a phone card she ought not to use because of the expense. Alice was essential, though, Alice was her anchor, sometimes irritating, sometimes soothing, but always there. No one else could understand her history without a sense of sympathy--at this point she didn't want sympathy. Sometimes all she wanted was to talk, or write, about the present, even though Robert intruded into her daily life as if his timeline hadn't ended. She imagined him looking at her roommate, a quick look of lust followed by disgust. Robert's face had revealed him the way sky revealed weather. And he changed as quickly, too--you could watch the overcast of his displeasures dissipate in seconds for the clarity of purpose.Robert would have loved it here, Annabel thought, the flat blue of the water, the parrot cacophony. But he'd have been impatient for the work to start. She was here for the bats, but first she had to wait out the formalities of class work and proposals, hurdles to keep her from starting the real search, field data, breaking down behaviors into numbers and percentages, then reconstituting the data to make a whole greater than the sum of the parts. The clean satisfaction of observations kneaded into truths.She'd left her Chicago lab job, impatient for what her brother had called the real work: the field, putting her hands on life. She'd had a taste of it, but she was impatient, waiting for the meal of her own research.Jet lag made everything overstimulating and slow--the too bright light, sharp smells. The lake they went to, inthat rain-forest patch, haunted her. The other students had talked about hitching a ride back to go swimming, but she looked at it and saw floating hands, bloated faces. Alice had warned her that you couldn't just leave your history. 
 
Alice had missed work for two days. The flu clogged up her eyes, nose, chest, and perception. Everything looked slightly blurred at the edges, smudged by a careless finger. Her body felt like an oversaturated sponge, leaky, swollen. Sometimes Alice thought her size was perfect: against Kevin in bed, she was water to the cup of him. She was voluptuous and foreign to herself--the curve of her own ankle, her shoulder small under his arm when they were touching each other, wrapped. Sometimes she liked her shiny brown hair, cut short and neat. Her eyes almost the same deep shade. But today her hair was strings, she was puffy, swelled with her own discomforts. She was the wrong size for the couch, the robe she wore; she smelled of the overused, overwarm bed, and her hair tangled with the bad air of the flu.Her sister, Annabel, was in the Southern Hemisphere, doing real science, and it was summer for her. Sometimes it seemed like Annabel's energy surrounded her like perpetual summer.Outside Alice's small Tudor house, her cave, it was January in suburban Connecticut--the trees were stripped and their gray arms matched the sky. Alice parted the insulated curtains to peek at her empty street. Even the cars looked desolate. If only it would snow, paint everything bright white to reflect the feeble light and wake the landscape ofparked Volvos and Fords crusted in road salt, gray sidewalks and lawns, colonials and capes sitting squat on their modest lots. A gray bird landed on the nude dogwood in her front yard and didn't sing. Alice let the curtain settle shut.She coughed, lay on the couch, and turned the TV on and off, hoping each time to find something distracting. She hated being out of work; she felt guilty, as if she were playing hooky.But she was genuinely sick, and her phone rang a lot, with questions from the office, her boss, with disgruntled where did you puts and what did you do abouts. Alice gritted her teeth. He was annoyingly kind, and annoyingly helpless without her. She heard her own voice whine like a leaking accordion--she told her boss where, what, that she was feeling a bit better, that she'd be back soon.If she thought too hard, everything started to hurt, colors, sound. There was a familiar pale taste of metal in her mouth. What was she doing now, one of her family's survivors--handmaiden's work, grants administration, instead of real science, like Robert. She could have taken up where he left off, or started her own, like Annabel.But she had Kevin. She had a home, she had a sweet steadiness in her days.Alice coughed and put a lemon drop on her tongue to chase the metal taste. She turned the TV back on to watch the Wheel of Fortune contestants buy vowels so they could guess incorrectly, greedily, at cliches. If only she could leave Connecticut winter for a week--the sameness of the sky, rushing in from the aching cold to the inside's artificial light. In the thickest green of sweaty summer, Alice thought she longed for winter, but what she imaginedthen was a white coat on her house, the burnt blue sky, sweet fireplace warmth on her cold face. It wasn't like that in real January--winter was dead leaves still mounded in the gutter and old air from the sealed containers of house, car, work.She loved their house, a three-bedroom Tudor with warm slanting walls and a fat chimney. Over the bridge from her parents in New Jersey, it was close enough for a day trip, but not so close they could happen by without warning. They'd been able to afford it because it had only one bathroom, and because the retired social worker who was moving out had rejected six offers already on the basis of not liking the potential buyers. She liked Alice and Kevin--liked their bright faces, she said. She also told them she expected them to fill the house. As it was, one bedroom was theirs, one was a guest room, and the third was an office.She leafed through the supermarket ads, hoping to discover a stranded postcard from her sister. It had only been about a week since Annabel left Chicago for Australia, but Alice wished she had some word from the sunny other side of the world. Really, she would've liked her to come over, bake cookies, give the house extra noise and energy, the way she had as a kid. It was never like that as adults; Annabel wasn't truly lit with unending enthusiasms, the way Alice imagined her from a distance. 
When she returned to work, Alice had fourteen voicemail messages, three handwritten phone messages, and twenty-two E-mails--many of which were duplicates of the phone messages--about meetings she'd already missed,office charity funds, and one that informed her she was out sick and wouldn't be available until Monday. It was Monday, and she wasn't feeling so available. She shut her door. 
Sender: (Annabel Mendelssohn) AMendelss To: AEMendel Subject: Hello? Saturday, January 20, 1996 
ALICE? Did you get my message? I'm much more coherent now, I've slept a little. I was kinda crazed before. LET ME KNOW IF YOU GET THIS. Love, A. 
Sender: AEMendel (Alice Mendelssohn) To: AMendelss Subject: Re: Hello? Monday, January 22, 1996 
Dear dear Annabel, 
Yes, I got your messages. I've been incognito in that boring suburban way: with the flu and out of work. Kev took good care of me, though. 
That roommate--ugh--maybe once you all get really dirty in the field she'll let go. Maybe she's a female impersonator; have you seen her without her clothes? 
Have your classes started? The dawn chorus sounds wonderful, I'm jealous. I didn't want to say it, I wanted to let it pass, but right now, in thisstuffy office that smells of politicking and rumors of cutbacks with no real science in sight, I really wish I were in your shoes. It's not just the weather (and yes, we have old drooly snow. It was lovely coming down, but have I been out to ski or play?), it's being here, the job. Not the Kevin part; he's still bliss, yup, wouldn't give that up. 
Mom is worried about you. I'll bet she has E-mail access, but I doubt she'll use it. She'll probably mail you those soapy blue throat lozenges intended for me, and I'll get the pocket-money check. 
Tell me more; any interesting people? When do you get to your research? Let me live vicariously through my little sister. 
Love, A. 
Yes Annabel, Alice thought, I'm still calling Mom every week. I won't feel silly for it either; it's not as if I'm trying to prove anything. I just like knowing where everyone is; someone has to do the job of keeping track.Copyright © 2001 by Gwendolen Gross All rights reserved.
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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide

1. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from three different characters' perspectives? How does Alice's narrative, her memories of Robert, her daily life, inform her sister's story? Are there places that the sisters' memories or beliefs are at odds? What does Leon's vision add to the equation? How do these three perspectives balance and contrast? Though the novel is written in third person, do you feel connected to the inner life, the thoughts and emotions, of the narrators? Of one more than the others? How would the story be different if told from a first person point of view?

2. How does landscape inform the shape of the novel? Explore how sense of place, and place itself, has a different impact on Annabel, Leon, and Alice.

3. One of the themes of Field Guide is missing persons-different characters disappear, or are lost, in different ways. What do you think happened to Professor John Goode? What do you believe happened to Robert? Discuss Annabel's idea that "some people...no matter how they're lost to you and no matter what you find when you search, will always, somehow, be permanently missing." (p. 264)

4. Do you feel the characters are honest about their desires and longings? Are there times you think characters are withholding information-or deluding themselves?

5. What does science and field study mean to each of the main characters? To the shape of the story? How does the idea of work factor in each character's motivations? How does the "absolute concentration" necessary for field science that Annabel observes in Professor Goode (p. 11) influence relationships between people in the book? If you wereAnnabel, would you have left your site, after the bats were missing, to search for John Goode?

6. The images in the novel relate to both physical and emotional states throughout the story. Are there certain images that stayed with you after reading? Is there an image you feel represents each place or each person in the book?

7. "Some scientists we are, Annabel thought, all the way out in the Southern Hemisphere, thousands of species to investigate, and every pathetic person looking for love." (p. 30) Discuss the theme of coupling, and uncoupling, in the novel. How do characters come together? Examine the role of cross-cultural relationships. How does the natural world reflect upon the more human constructs?

8. Discuss the role of secondary characters: Sabrina, Maud, Andrew, Mike Trimble, Janice Martin, Markos, Ursula, and so on. Do you consider the bats characters? How does Annabel relate to her subjects as opposed to her fellow humans?

9. What do the familiar relationships reveal-father/son, sisters, sister/brother, for example? How does family obscure or clarify each character?

10. On what levels does the novel provide a Field Guide, as its title suggests? Do you think the term refers to a particular character or characters? To one setting or to certain emotional passages?

11. How do you think Annabel changes over the course of the novel? What changes do you see ahead for her after the novel ends, if the story-her return to the states with Leon, a reunion with Alice and their parents-were to go on?

Copyright (c) 2002. Published in the U.S. by Harcourt, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    Moonclan territory ( hunting grounds )

    Woods

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2001

    Intense and mesmerizing

    Field Guide draws the reader into a lush Australian rainforest setting to join the search for a professor who has 'gone missing.' The prose is radiant, exploring the themes of disappearance, loss and love, with sensitivity and intensity. An amazing book! I am eagerly awaiting Gross¿s next novel.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    warm relationship drama

    Perhaps Annabel Mendelssohn was escaping the death of her older brother in a diving accident or suicide two years ago. Whatever the real reason is the Connecticut Yankee travels to James Cook University in Australia to do graduate fieldwork. Her subject is the behavioral patterns of spectacle fruit bats. Her only link home is e-mail with her sister.<P>Though mostly alone in the Rain Forest with her bats, Annabel finds herself attracted to the fiftyish professor John Goode even with hunks her own age nearby. When John suddenly vanishes, Annabel becomes concerned for him. John¿s son Leon arrives from Boston in search of his missing father. When Leon and Annabel meet, negative electrons fly as each irritates the other. However, those negative electrons soon attract one another as they join forces in seeking John and in love. <P>FIELD GUIDE is a warm relationship drama that centers on science and family without losing a step in either forum. The story line is understated, which adds to the feel of being in the rain forest with Annabel who reflects on her own family woes. The ending is obvious, but no one will care because the plot is so well written and Annabel is quite the complete character who insures that the tale works. Gwendolen Gross guides her audience with this first rate story. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

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