Ship Fever

by Andrea Barrett | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by BookGroupMan of Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on 9/27/2004
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, September 27, 2004
The latest offer with The Times. I almost didn't buy this (even at 99p cheap) because i'm not a big fan of short stories. But one of the testimonials is about a very sad story about Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, as an old man forgetting even his daughter's name. As an amateur horticulturalist I owe him a big thank you. Also, i'm a sucker for pathos & melancholy - maybe that's my Jewish side coming out!

(4/02) Review to follow...

Journal Entry 2 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, February 07, 2005
...a number of pleasing hors d’ourves before the main course, the self-named story, the novella ‘Ship Fever’. The first 7 shorter stories feature a variety of scientists, naturalists & botanists, both professional & amateur, male and female. Each highlights the strengths and fallibilities of human nature – both physical and emotional/spiritual - set against the background of scientific breakthroughs, and the passionate solving of the mysteries of the physical world, the collecting, the naming, the quest for understanding. Maybe AB trying to tell us that nature is perfect, ordered, predictable & measurable in a way that the human condition isn’t??

The story Ship Fever follows a young Canadian doctor (Dr. Lauchlin Grant) whose unrequited love and career doldrums leads him to the quarantine station on Grosse Isle, off the Quebec coast of Canada in the spring of 1847. This is where a huge - and true - disaster was unfolding, as tens of thousands or wretched Irish immigrants, trying to escape famine & destitution at home, only to die of Typhoid, and any number of other 'ship fevers'. The appalling conditions on the ships, as well as the lack of preparation & resources to deal with the tidal wave of the destitute coming across the North Atlantic are truly mind-numbing. Barrett writes very sparingly & evocatively, although not she's not overly-sentimental. There is some hope in the end for Nora, saved by Grant, but at what terrible cost? If you enjoyed Star of the Sea, this could be a follow-up to the story of the fated passengers, out of the frying pan into the fire indeed.

I know a certain Canadian BCer who may like this, as a lover of history, well written books and all things maple leaf shaped ;)

Journal Entry 3 by BookGroupMan at on Sunday, April 10, 2005

Released 14 yrs ago (4/9/2005 UTC) at

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I posted this to my cousin in Vancouver Island, where we spent a lovely few days. I hope you enjoy this - and can maybe pass on to goatgrrl later - when I get a new address??

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