“These stories possess a wonderful clarity and ease, the serene authority of a writer working at the very height of her powers.” — New York Times Book Review
Finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize
A New York Times Notable Selection
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 Ship Fever (National Book Award winner) and Barrett’s extraordinary novel The Voyage of the Narwhal, will discover subtle links both among these new stories and to characters in the earlier works.
“Like fossil-hunters, most of Barrett’s characters are looking for a way to piece together fragments of the past; when, in the last story, a cherished belonging of one character shows up in the life of another, we feel rescued and redeemed.” — The New Yorker
“One understands how the intricacies of the complex phenomena Barrett has studied have possessed her imagination… Gorgeous, illuminating, entrancing fiction.” — Kirkus (starred review)
“Luminous…Each [story] is rich and independent and beautiful and should draw Barrett many new admirers.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)