Natural History: Stories (Paperback)

**Book listings on our website do not always reflect the current availability of books on our store shelves. Check a book's in-store availability above the "add to cart" button. Or to be certain that a book you've found on our website is also here on our shelves, feel free to call us at 615-953-2243**

Natural History: Stories By Andrea Barrett Cover Image

Natural History: Stories (Paperback)


On Our Shelves Now
2 on hand, as of Jun 17 12:07pm

Finalist for the Story Prize

Longlisted for the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction

A BookPage and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

A masterful collection of interconnected stories from the "genius enchantress" (Karen Russell) author of Ship Fever, winner of the National Book Award.

In Natural History, Andrea Barrett completes the beautiful arc of intertwined lives of a family of scientists, teachers, and innovators that she has been weaving through multiple books since her National Book Award–winning collection, Ship Fever. The six exquisite stories in Natural History are set largely in a small community in central New York state and portray some of her most beloved characters, spanning the decades between the Civil War to the present day. In “Henrietta and Her Moths,” a woman tends to an insect nursery as her sister’s life follows a different path. In “Open House,” a young man grapples with a choice between a thrilling life spent discovering fossils and a desire to remain close to home. And in the magnificent title novella, “Natural History,” Barrett deepens the connection between her characters, bringing us through to the present day and providing an unforgettable capstone.

Told with Barrett’s characteristic elegance, passion for science, and wonderful eye for the natural world, the psychologically astute and moving stories gathered in this collection evoke the ways women’s lives and expectations—in families, in work, and in love—have shifted across a century and more. Building upon one another, these tales brilliantly culminate to reveal 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.

Andrea Barrett is the author of Natural History, the National Book Award–winning Ship Fever, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Servants of the Map, among other works of fiction. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Award, she lives in the Adirondacks.
Product Details ISBN: 9781324066118
ISBN-10: 1324066113
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: September 5th, 2023
Pages: 224
Language: English
Each story here offers [Barrett's] signature gifts: lyrical distillation of scientific complexity, artful wonder at the natural world, exquisitely observed details, and prose as precise and inevitable as a mathematical proof…With their kaleidoscopic interconnectedness, the overlapping circles of Barrett's stories, from this collection as well as her earlier works, add up to something large and delightful.
— L.A. Taggart - San Francisco Chronicle

Exhibits a shrewd understanding of the fragility and resilience of the human heart.…Barrett revisits her themes with a scientist’s precision and a poet’s grace.
— Connie Ogle - Minneapolis Star Tribune

[A] confident, quiet, richly imagined collection…Barrett is bold yet deft in handling timelines, lifetimes, and points of view. Each individual story feels complete, even as the connections between them…reinforce the collection’s central conviction that there is no such thing in nature as self-containment; everything is part of something bigger than itself.
— Justin Taylor - New York Times Book Review

An imaginative miracle woven of complexly connected stories…Immersing oneself in Natural History is an experience both bracing and magical… [T]he blurring of distinctions, of past and present, reality and fiction, is enhanced by a narrative consciousness that doesn’t hover over the characters so much as live in between them, switching at will from one perspective to the next, allowing us to see the world through Henrietta’s eyes as well as look at her the way others do.

— Christoph Irmscher - Wall Street Journal

The elegant linked-story collection Natural History returns the National Book Award-winner to familiar characters—drawn to natural wonders, searching for their own place in science—from her celebrated Ship Fever.

— Chicago Tribune

Andrea Barrett’s rewarding short story collection spans the Civil War era to the present day. Women’s roles evolve, as succeeding generations explore science, writing, teaching, and even flying, while still finding room for love and community.
— Christian Science Monitor

Telling the untold story is the heart of Natural History…The two stories merge, a kind of palimpsest in which the past is visible through the present and then shaded, artfully, by another hand. The effect is at once familiar and fresh, like being reminded of something half-forgotten and all the more treasured in the recollection, which has been the enduring feeling of all of these stories Andrea Barrett has written, across all these years.

— Holly M. Wendt - Ploughshares

[A] beautiful new collection.
— St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Barrett depicts the natural world and the human heart with wonder, tenderness, and deep understanding. More superb work from an American master.
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Barrett transforms deep knowledge of history, science, and human nature into gorgeously vital and insightful stories in which every element is richly brewed, mulled, and redolent.
— Booklist (starred review)

You need not have read earlier stories to be informed and dazzled by Natural History…Barrett demonstrates that while history organizes and distills events, fiction brings messy humanity gloriously to life.

— Bookpage (starred review)

A finely crafted linked collection…This offers rich rewards.
— Publishers Weekly