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The signature of all things

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2014.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Fiction : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In this book the author returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker-a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Historical fiction
Miscellaneous fiction
Fiction
Material Type: Fiction
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Elizabeth Gilbert
ISBN: 0143125842 9780143125846 0670024856 9780670024858
OCLC Number: 871192219
Description: 501 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Contents: The tree of fevers --
The plum of White Acre --
The disturbance of messages --
The consequence of missions --
The curator of mosses.
Responsibility: Elizabeth Gilbert.

Abstract:

In this book the author returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker-a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction, into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist, but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life. The story soars across the globe, from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who, born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution, bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. -- Provided by publisher.

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