Servants of the Map – Andrea Barrett

Another collection of short stories spanning the 18th to 20th centuries, set mainly in North America, but with the glory explorer days of the British Empire as its starting point.

I really enjoy the way Andrea Barrett gives you a glimpse into her characters’ worlds, and then leaves them there… but then in subsequent stories, about apparently unconnected people, she provides sideways glances at the paths their lives then followed.

This collection starts off with maps and mapping, exploration and discovery and ends up with health and social history. Fascinating, and engaging.

Buy it: Amazon link

Ship Fever – Andrea Barrett

For once, choosing a book by its cover proved a good decision!

A great collection of short stories, themed around the scientific explorations flowing from the Enlightenment, and set against the backdrop of daily life – ordinary, and, in Ship Fever (the novella which closes the collection) extraordinary.

Ideas crop up in different guises throughout the collection – the most memorable being the part played by amateurs and women in piecing together the small discoveries and theories into the patchwork of the sciences we are taught today.