Thursday, February 13, 2014

Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

I haven't read any of Elizabeth Gilbert's non-fiction, so I wasn't prepared for this well-written, funny, unexpected and thought-provoking book.  Gilbert tells the life story of Alma Whittaker, daughter of a low-born British pharmaceuticals magnate and a sober member of Dutch botanical royalty, who lives much of her life on a massive estate in Philadelphia, working for the family business and studying mosses as a microcosm of life. The book offers characters to love, others to feel antipathy toward, and quite a few to be perplexed by.  The book covers around 120 years, from around the time of Captain Cook's voyages to the aftermath of the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species.


  1. So, does it make you want to read the non-fic? Mosses, eh, sounds atmospherically slow.

  2. Just started reading, based on your recommendation. Characters are very compelling and I'm really enjoying the depth of the characters and complexities of the story.