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Alma Whittakers betydelsefulla upptäckter (2013)

av Elizabeth Gilbert

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2,6711723,813 (3.91)213
Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker--a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction -- into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist -- but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life. The story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who -- born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution- bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas.… (mer)
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    The Voyage of the Narwhal av Andrea Barrett (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: At the heart of these richly detailed, elegantly written historical novels are naturalists whose ocean voyages lead not only to scientific discovery but also to a greater understanding of human behavior. Vivid descriptions and well-developed supporting characters enrich both stories.… (mer)
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    The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World av Michael Pollan (zhejw)
    zhejw: Alma would have loved this nonfiction book that explains how several plants "used" their relationships with humanity to their evolutionary advantage.
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    The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe av Glynis Ridley (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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    Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses av Robin Wall Kimmerer (aprille)
    aprille: I'd lay dollars to donuts this book was a source for a couple of the scenes in the book. Robin Wall Kimmerer is thanked in the acknowledgments.
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    This Thing of Darkness av Harry Thompson (crittergirl)
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    The Origin: A Biographical Novel of Charles Darwin av Irving Stone (ddelmoni)
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    Letters from Yellowstone av Diane Smith (amarie)
    amarie: Also a woman scientist in the 19th century. Less epic in scale but more focused on one woman's adventure and study.
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» Se även 213 omnämnanden

engelska (169)  franska (1)  Alla språk (170)
Visa 1-5 av 170 (nästa | visa alla)
I loved Alma and reading from her point of view. I loved traveling with her through this strange life, and meeting so many interesting people. ( )
  klnbennett | Oct 7, 2020 |
This is a fascinating book, even though I'm having mixed feelings about it. I didn't intend to pick it up but I forgot to decline my monthly book club featured selection on time and Gilbert's book promptly arrived in the mail. I'm glad it did, at least for a majority of the book. I haven't read any of her work before even though I know who she is. The Signature of All Things quickly sucked me in and had me losing sleep--again. It's so inventively written and the characters are so fascinating. My only misgivings came toward the end as the story took some improbable twists, from my perspective, and then started to drag. I've since read other reviews and seen it described as an ambitious book. I agree. But I do think it's a good read. There's a botany thread throughout and this will either thrill botany enthusiasts (I assume) or help educate those of us who know nothing. ( )
  jjpseattle | Aug 2, 2020 |
I'd like to give it 3 and a half. It was interesting and descriptive, but the characters were frustrating. ( )
  nwieme | Mar 19, 2020 |
The Signature of All Things is a very very very long winded book that takes itself very seriously. It follows a woman through her life in the 1800's. The tone is continued from the first through the last pages. The story is illuminated with lots of descriptions. There is a beginning middle and and end to the story which is appreciated by the reader. Because of its extreme length and boredom it receives a good solid three stars. ( )
  lbswiener | Mar 6, 2020 |
Botany, moss, science, 19th-century feminism, what's not to love? ( )
  RandyRasa | Feb 24, 2020 |
Visa 1-5 av 170 (nästa | visa alla)
Should finally redefine Gilbert as a writer with an incredible sense of lyricism, and a rare command of and confidence in her story...She makes broad, unresolvable premises — regular-ish human life, with its aspirations and humiliations, her own or her character’s — look easy, by taking nothing for granted, making sharp and unrelenting observations and framing it with a rare positivity and sense of possibility.
 
Gilbert has established herself as a straight-up storyteller who dares us into adventures of worldly discovery, and this novel stands as a winning next act. “The Signature of All Things” is a bracing homage to the many natures of genius and the inevitable progress of ideas, in a world that reveals its best truths to the uncommonly patient minds.
 
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What life is, we know not. What life does, we know well.
--Lord Perceval
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For my grandmother
Maude Edna Morcomb Olson
in honor of her hundredth birthday
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Alma Whittaker, born with the century, slid into our world on the fifth of January, 1800.
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Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker--a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction -- into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist -- but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life. The story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who -- born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution- bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas.

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