The Voyage of the Narwhal

The Voyage of the Narwhal

Book - 1998
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Baker & Taylor
The author combines fact and fiction to follow Erasmus Darwin Wells, the nineteenth-century naturalist, on his reckless pursuit of an open polar sea

Norton Pub
A major novel by the author of Ship Fever, winner of the 1996 National Book Award for Fiction. Part adventure narrative, part love story, this unforgettable novel captures a crucial moment in the history of exploration, the mid-nineteenth-century romance with the mystery of the Arctic. Combining fact and fiction, Andrea Barrett focuses on Erasmus Darwin Wells, a scholar-naturalist accompanying the expedition of the Narwhal. Through his eyes we meet the various crew members and the expedition's blustery commander, obsessed with the search for an open polar sea. And through his eyes we experience the wild, disturbing beauties of that last unexplored region. In counterpoint to his views are those of the Esquimaux, witness to the expedition's exploits, and of the women left behind in Philadelphia, who can only imagine what lies beyond the north wind. Together, those who travel and those who stay weave a web of myth and history. In the real nineteenth-century expeditions, explorers' documents always cast the writer as hero. But what really happened up there, in the long winter darkness, entrapped in ice? On the Narwhal, everyone is frightened, nothing is certain, and heroes emerge in unexpected guises. Barrett's explorers discover-as all explorers do-not what was always there and never needed discovering, but the state of their own souls.

Baker
& Taylor

The author of Ship Fever, winner of the 1996 National Book Award for Fiction, combines fact and fiction to follow Erasmus Darwin Wells, the nineteenth-century naturalist, on his reckless pursuit of an open polar sea. 75,000 first printing. Tour.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, [1998]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©1998
ISBN: 9780393046328
039304632X
Branch Call Number: FIC Ba 1998
Characteristics: 399 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm

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SPPL_János Mar 08, 2018

A brother and sister eclipsed by the fame of others struggle to survive a misguided 1855 expedition to the Arctic, he in the icebound wilds and she in stern Philadelphia society. Barrett vividly conveys the details of 19th century life and the harshness of nature and the human heart.

ontherideau Jan 02, 2018

"Barrett tells a gripping story shaped by masterful interpretations of the paradigms of science and the volatile nature of the mind, a wilderness every bit as challenging as the forbidding Arctic."
The above quote sums up my view of this book. I read it many years ago but remember it still.

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