Ship Fever

Ship Fever

4.5 6
by Andrea Barrett
     
 

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1996 National Book Award Winner for Fiction.
The elegant short fictions gathered hereabout the love of science and the science of love are often set against the backdrop of the nineteenth century. Interweaving historical and fictional characters, they encompass both past and present as they negotiate the complex territory of ambition, failure, achievement, and

Overview

1996 National Book Award Winner for Fiction.
The elegant short fictions gathered hereabout the love of science and the science of love are often set against the backdrop of the nineteenth century. Interweaving historical and fictional characters, they encompass both past and present as they negotiate the complex territory of ambition, failure, achievement, and shattered dreams. In "Ship Fever," the title novella, a young Canadian doctor finds himself at the center of one of history's most tragic epidemics. In "The English Pupil," Linnaeus, in old age, watches as the world he organized within his head slowly drifts beyond his reach. And in "The Littoral Zone," two marine biologists wonder whether their life-altering affair finally was worth it. In the tradition of Alice Munro and William Trevor, these exquisitely rendered fictions encompass whole lives in a brief space. As they move between interior and exterior journeys, "science is transformed from hard and known fact into malleable, strange and thrilling fictional material" (Boston Globe).

Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
“Beautiful stories about the wonder and work of science…In Barrett’s hands, science is transformed from hard and known fact into malleable, strange, and thrilling fictional material.”
The New Yorker
“The title novella is devastating: as with every story here, you enter right into it, and cannot entirely leave it behind.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The quantifiable truths of science intersect with the less easily measured precincts of the heart in these eight seductively stylish tales. In the graphic title novella, a self-doubting, idealistic Canadian doctor's faith in science is sorely tested in 1847 when he takes a hospital post at a quarantine station flooded with diseased, dying Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine. The story, which deftly exposes English and Canadian prejudice against the Irish, turns on the doctor's emotions, oscillating between a quarantined Irish woman and a wealthy Canadian lady, his onetime childhood playmate. In ``The English Pupil,'' Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus, who brought order to the natural world with his system of nomenclature, battles the disorder of his own aging mind as he suffers from paralysis and memory loss at age 70. In ``The Behavior of the Hawkweeds,'' a precious letter drafted by Austrian monk Gregor Mendel, who discovered the laws of heredity, reverberates throughout the narrator's marriage to her husband, an upstate New York geneticist. Barrett (The Forms of Water) uses science as a prism to illuminate, in often unsettling ways, the effects of ambition, intuition and chance on private and professional lives. (Jan.)
Thomas Mallon
"Her work stands out for its sheer intelligence....The overall effect is quietly dazzling." -- The New York Times Book Review
Diane Cole
"An extraordinary short story collection....Barrett blends a sure grasp of the history and method of science into each of her evocative tales." -- Chicago Tribune
Thomas Mallon - New York Times Book Review
“[Andrea Barrett's] work stands out for its sheer intelligence, its painstaking attempt to discern and describe the world's configuration. The overall effect is quietly dazzling.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393316001
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
11/28/1996
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
157,962
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
920L (what's this?)

What People are saying about this

Howard Norman
"In these wonderfully original stories, the great explorers of mind and geography seem to enter the room, and history feels more immediate than the present....Andrea Barrett does not flinch from large subjects, with her uncanny investigations into human curiousity, her senual and soul-enhancing, and always underlist her splendid intelligence."

Meet the Author

Andrea Barrett is the author of The Air We Breathe, Servants of the Map (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), The Voyage of the Narwhal, Ship Fever (winner of the National Book Award), and other books. She teaches at Williams College and lives in northwestern Massachusetts.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
November 16, 1954
Place of Birth:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Education:
B.A., Union College
Website:
http://www.wwnorton.com/catalog/fall01/004348.htm

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Ship Fever: Stories 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
PierresFamily More than 1 year ago
Ship Fever starts off slowly. But I'm glad I stuck with it. Barrett does a masterful job of melding historical scienctific movements and discoveries, with fictional characters. Her writing fills a unique niche, and i hope she will continue writing for a long time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brillliant collection of short stories. In particular, the title story - a tragic account of the Irish Famine on a Canadian Island. This collection is for the literate who have a taste for science, history and are motivated to read by very intelligent, well crafted writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't do better than the previous commercial reviews because they're right. Barrett uses science as a prism to examine philosophy, love, marriage, relationships and other affairs of the heart. Characters go from one story to another and into her newest, 'Servants of the Map,' but start with 'Ship Fever' and go on. It's a great read. Think of it as an intellectual's 'beach book' even though it's more than that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book deserved at least one review. The author tells a collection of very different stories all linked by science. The book was very well written and had a good pace. Well worth a read, even if you aren't a fan of short stories.