“[Andrea Barrett has] a scientist’s fascination for the natural world, but her primary concern is always human character and community.”— Paris Review
In Natural History, Andrea Barrett completes and connects the lives of the family of scientists, teachers, and innovators she has been weaving throughout her books since her National Book Award – winning collection Ship Fever was published twenty-five years ago. The six exquisite stories in Natural History (including the unforgettable capstone, the novella-length title story) are set largely in a small community in central New York State and portray some of her most beloved characters. Told with Barrett’s characteristic elegance, passion for science, and wonderful eye for the natural world, these psychologically astute and moving stories evoke the ways women’s lives and expectations — in families, in work, and in love — have shifted across a century and more.
Throughout, Barrett’s great theme comes shining through: how the smallest events of the past can have large reverberations across the generations, and how potent, wondrous, and strange the relationship between history and memory can be.