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Books > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories & Anthologies > Short Stories > 0393348776
  1. Archangel: Fiction
    Archangel: Fiction
    Archangel: Fiction
    Image(s) provided for illustrative purposes and may differ from the actual product
  2. Archangel: Fiction

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (35 reviews)
    Price R490.00

Additional Information

"[Andrea Barrett's] work stands out for its sheer intelligence…The overall effect is quietly dazzling."—New York Times Book Review

Winner of the National Book Award for her collection of stories Ship Fever, Andrea Barrett has become one of our most admired and beloved writers. In this magnificent new book, she unfolds five pivotal moments in the lives of her characters and in the history of knowledge.

During the summer of 1908, twelve-year-old Constantine Boyd is witness to an explosion of home-spun investigation—from experiments with cave-dwelling fish without eyes to scientifically bred crops to motorized bicycles and the flight of an early aeroplane. In 1920, a popular science writer and young widow tries, immediately after the bloodbath of the First World War, to explain the new theory of relativity to an audience (herself included) desperate to believe in an “ether of space” housing spirits of the dead. Half a century earlier, in 1873, a famous biologist struggles to maintain his sense of the hierarchies of nature as Darwin’s new theory of evolution threatens to make him ridiculous in the eyes of a precocious student. The twentieth-century realms of science and war collide in the last two stories, as developments in genetics and X-ray technology that had once held so much promise fail to protect humans—among them, a young American soldier, Constantine Boyd, sent to Archangel, Russia, in 1919—from the failures of governments and from the brutality of war.

In these brilliant fictions rich with fact, Barrett explores the thrill and sense of loss that come with scientific progress and the personal passions and impersonal politics that shape all human knowledge.

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W. W. Norton & Company
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

The trepidation and eagerness of coming on a discovery is at the heart of "Archangel," an immaculate collection of stories by Andrea Barrett. Each of the main characters lives at the cusp of a new era of knowledge: the Darwinian revolution, the birth of manned flight, an understanding of genetics, the nature of space and time, and, just as complex, a conception of one's own fragmented world. Barrett recreates the scientific worlds of earlier eras with clarity and sensitivity, and brings her characters vividly to life in a completely unforced way. She entwines the people and the science seamlessly, keeping us deeply engaged in both.

These five long stories--they range from 30 to almost 60 pages each--are linked to one another, though sometimes so subtly that it's only after finishing them that we fully realize the connections. Constantine Boyd, the boy who lodges with his mother's brother in the summer of 1908, is enthralled by the curiosity of scientific investigation, and... Read more
Andrea Barrett has written a fiercely intelligent book of lightly linked short stories in ARCHANGEL. The stories are (mostly) centered around science in some way- my favorite, set in 1873 and told from the point of a view of a young woman who is an apt pupil, tells of a famous scientist (a real-life historical figure whose name is well-known) who holds onto ideas of Divine Creation even as Darwin's theory of evolution begins to fully grip the worlds of science and education. It's written so masterfully, as are the other stories, all others set later than 1873 but earlier than 1940.

I don't want to give the impression that one has to know science-- evolution, genetics, astronomy shine in these stories-- to love this book. The characters come alive and we readers come to care about them as individuals, who, like all of us, struggle with their ambitions, their feelings, their relationships. I couldn't recommend this book more highly!
I am such an Andrea Barrett fan! I was thrilled to see this new book, and delighted to recognize the structure from SERVANTS OF THE MAP and SHIP FEVER: long "short stories," very loosely connected, that explore turning points in science and technology through the experiences of absorbing, memorable fictional characters. This book is sublime; she has such a deft touch, and her characters feel so utterly real. I plan to read it again very shortly. --Monica Wood
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