Brief reviews of mysteries, thrillers, and crime novels.
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.