Servants of the Map by Andrea Barrett

Servants of the Map

Andrea Barrett

Short stories with a common theme of scientific investigation sounds as if it could be rather dry, but these are beautifully written and transform the quest for knowledge into a voyage of discovery through the mysteries of the human heart and spirit. I loved it, despite not normally being a short story reader.

Extract

A hundred times, a thousand times, Rose would try in the following years to reconstruct her mother's life and mind, her mother's death. What was science for, if not for this? In her mother's closet she turned the same things over and over again. An old brown book, falling apart, filled with interesting drawings of fossils, but stubbornly silent regarding the nature of its path to Suky. A slightly less decrepit green book, Mosses with a Hand Lens, which Suky had consulted almost daily. The letters, the crumbling letters, among which a few leaves and lichens had been pressed. And incongruous among all that paper, one ancient, tiny lady's boot, black and moldy, balanced on a ledge as if the woman whose foot it once sheltered had scaled the inside of the closet, passed through the ceiling and simply disappeared.

Parallels
  • The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald
  • The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr
  • Selected Stories by Alice Munro

Books with similar mood

Bowing to Winter

June Hall

The Weather in Japan

Michael Longley

Jizzen

Kathleen Jamie

Aphrodite's Hat

Salley Vickers

The Unknown Errors of our Lives

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Nothing But Ghosts

Judith Hermann

The Breakage

Glyn Maxwell

Blue Bamboo

Osamu Dazai

Time-Gifts

Zoran Zivkovic

Lunatics, Lovers and Poets

Daniel Hahn & Margarita Valencia (eds)

African Love Stories

Ama Ata Aidoo

Look We Have Coming to Dover!

Daljit Nagra

The Laws of Evening

Mary Waters

Sound Barrier: Poems 1982-2002

Maura Dooley

After Rain

William Trevor

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

Alice Munro

The Other City

Rhiannon Hooson

In Defence of Adultery

Julia Copus

The Heel of Bernadette

Colette Bryce

A Light Song of Light

Kei Miller

The Poetry Cure

Julia Darling and Cynthia Fuller (eds)

Fiere

Jackie Kay

Old People are a Problem

Emyr Humphreys

The Bride from Odessa

Edgardo Cozarinsky

Dream Room

Marcel Moring

The Arrival of Brighteye and Other Poems

Jean Breeze

Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times

Neil Astley

The Hierarchy of Sheep

John Kinsella

Mud: Stories of Sex and Love

Michele Roberts

Seasons of the Heart

Alan Spence

The Year's Afternoon

Douglas Dunn

Notes From a Bright Field

Rose Cook

Groundswell

Helen Sandler

Changes and Dreams

Glenda Beagan

Field Study

Rachel Seiffert

Black Country

Liz Berry

Monsieur Linh and His Child

Philippe Claudel

Chattering

Louise Stern

Lucky Girls

Nell Freudenberger

Good Clean Fun

Michael Arditti

The Deep

Mary Swan

Agua

Eduardo Berti

Not to speak of the dog: 101 short stories in verse

Christopher Reid (ed)

A Leaf Out of His Book

Penelope Shuttle

Faces on the Tip of My Tongue

Emmanuelle Pagano

Cairo Stories

Anne-Marie Drosso

The Lives of Strangers

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Out of the Blue: Poems 1975-2001

Helen Dunmore