Ship Fever

Andrea Barrett

the back of the book claims these are “set against the backdrop of the nineteenth century.” i don’t want to nitpick or anything, but several are mostly set in the twentieth century and two are set in the eighteenth century.

the stories all hinge on the sciences — from genetics to zoology to public health to several other branches — and that is definitely what makes this collection so outstanding. i love the concept of the littoral zone (in the story of the same name): “… that space between high and low watermarks where organisms struggled to adapt to the daily rhythm of immersion and exposure.

the story that caught me the sharpest was “Rare Bird,” but then it ended so mysteriously and i’m still annoyed. i wanted to know what happened at the end, even if the characters didn’t.