Archangel

Archangel 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

  • Title: Archangel
  • Author: Andrea Barrett
  • ISBN: 9780393348774
  • Page: 390
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 inWinner 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.

    One thought on “Archangel”

    1. I apologize to this book's last two stories, and to this review, for being distracted, and for using them as a distraction. Not an ideal situation, but there was nothing I could do about it except not read, and I just had to read after awhile. For a fuller review, please see Rebecca Foster's review, which is why I read this book.The five stories take us back and forth through a span of almost 50 years, with several recurring characters or references to them and to certain events. The first story [...]

    2. This elegantly written and deftly plotted short story collection reminded me of A.S. Byatt’s work – specifically Angels and Insects, but also Byatt’s frequent treatment of historical science. Along with women in science, some of Barrett’s linking themes are: evolution, both as a scientific proposal and in the more metaphorical sense of heredity and change over time (“Who am I? Who do I resemble, and who not? What makes me me, what makes you you; what do we inherit, and what not?” Sam [...]

    3. Andrea Barrett writes about professional scientists and those enchanted, enraptured with the prospect of science - the discovery of something new, a grasp of understanding of how the world operates, what laws drive its creatures - in a compelling and engaging way. Her stories often operate on two levels - the protagonists's personal experiences are placed in a larger historical/scientific context. A good example of this would be the opening story, titled The Investigators and set in 1908, in whi [...]

    4. I can't think of any author that can write about science and the people involved with science in such a compelling way as Andrea Barrett, and Archangel is a stunning example of her abilities. In this group of five interconnected stories, she writes about early aviation, Darwin's theory of evolution, Einstein's theory of relativity, genetics research, and early x-ray technology. This is historical fiction, and the scientific pioneers are either named or easily recognizable, but Barrett writes so [...]

    5. I adore Andrea Barrett. I think I've read all her other books, and have enjoyed them immensely. I like good historical fiction, and her history of science angle has always made her books really special. For some reason, though, this one, though I was so excited to find it, didn't grab me as much. I'm not sure if it's the book, or if I was in the wrong frame of mind. I feel like I've read at least two other collections like this from her, of interconnected stories that take place in different era [...]

    6. Barrett consistently writes books that are so smart, suffused with science and the joy and pain of scientific discovery, yet not forgoing relationship (and its commensurate joys and pains). Her characters are often earnest, if not completely self-aware or emotionally honest, seekers after truths, even when those truths are barely glimpsed or marginally understood. They are seeking something real and true, and often looking for that in science and discovery. Here, she again explores these themes [...]

    7. Andrea Barrett is a wonder. She is the best writer I've ever found to combine historical fiction and science. I absolutely loved her collection of short stories, Ship Fever, and also really liked her novel The Air We Breathe. Archangel is different from both. It's kind of like a collection of short stories, with a simple link, either one character at a different decade in that person's life, or maybe just a similar theme. And an odd theme. I find myself completely absorbed by her characters. And [...]

    8. This collection of short stories is beautifully written. There are 5 stories in the book; all of them take place in the late 19th-early 20th century and revolve around scientific ideas of the time. I enjoyed four of the five stories, particularly "The Island" and the title story "Archangel." Barrett's landscape writing is incredible. All of her characters either struggle with the scientific ideas of the time or are completely in awe of new discoveries. Each story has a certain sense of melanchol [...]

    9. Oh, man! So many writers, I think, turn to fantasy or exaggeration, cynicism or humor or stylistic showiness to try to express how deeply wonderful and unfamiliar this seeming familiar, boring world actually is--once again, Andrea Barrett just manages to go deeper into the world itself, and to tangle it up with all these people in a ways that show all these new connections between the intellectual and the emotional. And of course who isn't into those blind cave-dwelling fish? Masterful.

    10. ARCHANGEL. (2013). Andrea Barrett. ****.This is a collection of short stories from this National Book Award winning author that address the significance of scientific discovery as it affects its investigators through various time periods. The author, trained in Biology, looks at a variety of eras in the march of discovery from 1873 up to 1939. Some of the settings were unknown to me. For example: One of the stories, “The Particles” (1939), involved a group of geneticists who were returning t [...]

    11. I liked this, for the most part, with the caveat that I'm a sucker for Enlightenment-era science stories. There were only five to the whole book, and some worked better than others—I felt her research peeking through fairly regularly, and some of the narrative seemed like more of an armature to hang the science on than anything propelling the story, except in a very abstract way. Still, her writing is lovely, and it all managed to hang together pretty well.

    12. Interconnected short stories or a novel? Depends upon how you look at it.Which is fitting, giving that vision is a central organizing theme, even if it remains implicit throughout these five stories.Andrea Barrett is the historian of science's favorite author, penning a number of stories and one novel about scientists in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. She returns to that stomping ground here, though this collection is the slimmest, I believe--which might have to do with the acclaim [...]

    13. Archangel, a collection of stories by Andrea Barrett, perfectly evokes various times and places which are long gone, but which share so many things--curiosity, exploration, family drama--with the modern world. Barrett's characters express the real, palpable sense of excitement and wonder that was experienced in the latter days of the 19th century and the early days of the early 20th century, and her skillful writing draws the reader into that experience. Each of the five stories affects or is af [...]

    14. Fans of Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures or A.S. Byatt’s “Morpho Eugenia” are likely to appreciate Andrea Barrett’s Archangel, a collection of short stories that address the psychological transformations of men and women invested in the developing sciences from 1908 to 1939. Barrett’s characters wage private battles as they grope their way through conflicting ideas and alliances. Oliver Lodge’s etheric theory is challenged by Einstein’s relativity; Louis Agassiz’s polygen [...]

    15. This small collection of five interconnected stories was a fabulous discovery. National Book Award winning author Andrea Barrett is now a professor of English at Williams College, but graduated from college with a degree in biology. With these stories she uses these interests and experience to brilliantly and lovingly explore the process of scientific investigation and discovery and its effects on society’s view of the universe and the ties between individuals.The five stories non-chronologica [...]

    16. Disclaimer: I won this book in a First Reads giveaway.I'm going to rate the stories in this book one by one, even though the stories obviously relate into one work of solid fiction. The first story is a young boy's discovery of science. The second, third, and fourth stories are all narratives of how different characters relate science and discovery into their lives. The last story is nostalgic and bitter, and ends with longing for home. 1st Story: The Investigators: 1 Star A young boy named Con [...]

    17. Another great collection by Andrea Barrett, one of my favorite authors. A wonderfully structured collection, too, the five stories create a nice symmetry with repeated characters and chronology. Readers of Barrett's previous collections and novels will recognize a few faces, as well as the name of a book or two.

    18. Interesting collection of stories that bring together scientific fact and fiction from a writer of exceptional prose. I think we need a new category -- "scientific fiction" - although when you Google scientific fiction, you get science fiction, so I guess that's not a good idea.

    19. Historically inspired short stories with interconnected characters, thematically groups around the disruption that new ideas, like those of Darwin and Einstein, pose to the intellectual pedigrees and relationships between teachers, students and their families.

    20. I do not usually enjoy books of short stories. So this book surprised me. It consists of five short stories, 30 to 40 pages long, and each is exquisite. The general theme is the introduction of new scientific ideas, and the stories take place in 1908, 1920, 1873,1939, and 1919 (in that order). The stories are intertwined, sometimes loosely, so there is a feeling of continuity throughout the collection. (The out-of-sequence dates serve almost as flash-backs.) But it is the characters that make th [...]

    21. This book was fascinating, although a bit of a slog. If you like piecing together threads of seemingly unconnected stories and figuring out how they all relate to one another, you should enjoy it. It was very difficult to accomplish, though, as the timeline jumps around all over the place. I felt like I should have taken notes on each chapter, so that I could compare names, dates, places, etc. to put the puzzle all together in a complete picture. When our book group discussed this, we had each f [...]

    22. I really enjoyed this series of connected short stories. They're historical fiction with a science bent. It's something you don't find very often, and I'm excited because Barrett has a number of books in a similar vein. These scientists aren't unemotional brains - they have emotions and worries and egos. And there are quite a few women as well. No minorites, which is a shame, as Barrett writes well. I was particularly happy that the first story takes place in Hammondsport, NY, right near me, and [...]

    23. Delicious stories about science in history, with fully drawn characters who are intellectually engaged -- what's not to like?

    24. I appreciated that all the stories were somehow connected, seems like Boyd is the connecting character. That last two stories made no sense.

    25. Disclosure: I received this through the Giveaway, and definitely feel obliged to write up something.More potential prejudice: I remember liking the author’s Ship Fever, perhaps because of the Historical/Scientific/Medical aspects. I liked it enough to acquire Narwhal (but can’t remember much about that one--I suspect I didn’t finish it), as well as enter this giveaway. Even more: the back cover said these stories were “luminescent” and “radiant.” Hmm, didn’t note any visible lig [...]

    26. Andrea Barrett has carved out a remarkable literary domain in which she reigns virtually unchallenged: the fictional depiction of the explorations and experiments, troubled and triumphant, that constitute the advance of modern Western science from roughly the 18th century to the mid-20th. All executed with deep historical knowledge, enormous empathy for human frailty and aspirations, and deft literary skill.Archangel, with its five stories connected by the slender threads of recurring characters [...]

    27. Five stories of women and men struggling to find a truth—an observable truth, a scientific truth—and the truth in their hearts.

    28. Archangel is yet another book by an author I'd not read before. Which makes me wonder just what it is I've been reading, but anyhow. It's an interesting book with five different stories with loosely interconnected characters all joined by an avid curiosity towards science, and invention. The stories are set from around 1870s through 1939, when scientific theories were floating around like so many tadpoles in a frog pond. The bookending stories caught me. Each are of a young man by name Constanti [...]

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