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Field Guide: A Novel

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  60 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
In this mesmerizing first novel a young American graduate student abandons her research deep in the Australian rain forest to investigate her professor's mysterious disappearance.

Annabel Mendelssohn has an unusual but oddly satisfying life -- studying spectacled fruit bats in the rain forest of Australia. She spends her free time discovering waterfalls and e-mailing her si
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 4th 2001 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2001)
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Apr 02, 2013 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to be posting stuff here, what with the sale to Amazon, but until I decide where I'm going I might as well continue.

In brief: US postgrad Annabel Mendelssohn, still in grief over the drowning death (possibly suicide, possibly just accident) of her marine-biologist elder brother Robert, goes to Australia to study spectacled fruit bats for her doctoral thesis, and, in a more-or-less platonic fashion, becomes fond of the man supervising the group of students,
Margo Brooks
May 18, 2013 Margo Brooks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This novel is about families, mourning, and love--family love, romantic love, and love of a calling. When Annabel goes to Australia to do field work with bats, she is still reeling from her brother's death. Her family of scientists are all trying to make rational sense out of an irrational event. But her passion for her work helps her through this difficult time, as well as the mystery of a professor gone missing. This book rang true in capturing the temporary disorientation of going back to eve ...more
Sep 18, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. I loved reading about the bat behavior and research that Annabel was conducting. The descriptions of Australia and the field research were great. I wanted to be there. OK, maybe not sleeping in a tent, in the middle of the woods with only bats to keep me company. Professor John Goode disappears. No one thinks much about his disappearance until many days later, this plot adds even more to the book. I liked how Annabel came from a family of scientists, all working in a different f ...more
Diane C.
Aug 22, 2013 Diane C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book meanders a bit, but I really liked it. Young post grad does field work in Australia, falls for professor who then disappears, and the ending is rather open ended. What I loved the most were the descriptions of nature in an exotic environment seen thru the eyes of someone who could have been me.

The author was recently a post grad wildlife researcher herself, and gives an interesting and fairly personal look into what that world is like, in an engrossing and entertaining way.

Thumbs up!
Oct 28, 2013 Jcsloan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I picked up this book because it is written by an alumna of the field study program in Australia that my granddaughter is participating in and I wanted to get a sense of what students in the Australian rainforest experience. The book succeeded in that. Humidity and leeches!
In addition its a satisfying story of how one person struggles to interpret the traumas of the past so she can move into the future without obsessing. A satisfying read.
Jul 06, 2012 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

The author's writing style is terrific. If you are looking for a carefully written story about people searching for something or someone with a dash of science, read this book! However, if you are looking for an action packed adventure story this book will be a disappointment. I have a new appreciation of bats!
Mar 10, 2012 Rrshively rated it liked it
I had another book by this author on my "to read" list, and when I found this in the library, I decided to get it. This book combines wildlife biology, Australia, a missing persons mystery, and a little romance. The writing deserves just about exactly 3 stars. I'm glad I read the book as it held my interest.
Mar 26, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting, well-written, and possibly autobiographical story of Annabel, a graduate student, doing research on spectacled fruit bats in the rain forest of Australia. When her professor goes missing, Annabel takes a break from her research and joins forces with the professor's son, Leon, in the search. Includes beautiful descriptions of flora and fauna.
Jan 28, 2010 Dee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young post-grad student, who is coming to terms with her brother's death (accident or suicide?), goes to Australia to do a field study on the habits of fruit bats. Her professor mysteriously disappears. She and the professor's son meet and go to search for the missing man. It's a much better story than my brief description implies.
I was moderately impressed by this book, but my friend Greg really liked it, and wrote:
"A young American woman doing biology field work in the tropical part of Australia has complex interactions--with Australian men, with her sister back home (via email), and with the natural environment. I thought this was a really artistic novel."
Jun 19, 2014 AliceinWonderland rated it did not like it
- I'm sorry to say, this book was terribly DULL. It did not live up to the interesting description on the inside flap. Which is a pity because the book sounded so interesting when I first picked it up.
- The writing style is half decent; in fact, there are some lovely passages in there.
- However, this does not excuse it from being utterly slow and the characters were not richly drawn. Sorry!
So...the descriptions of Australia and field research are great. The simultaneous trying-to-be-a-character-study-yet-full-of-action-and-sex failed. Utterly. I guess I just don't like how some of the writing felt so...gratuitous. The author spent time in Australia studying bats, and frankly, I wish she had just written a memoir. It would have been more interesting and less..forced.
Terrible book! The story was too slow moving. The only reason why I decided to even finish the book was to see if ANYTHING at all would become exciting. Perhaps if more focus was put on the adventure of finding the professor, it may have had some merit. Boring read.
Jul 26, 2007 Beckie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006
i liked parts of this book a lot, but others seemed lacking development, or something. or maybe i was distracted by a few superficial details that irritated me.
Elizabeth Young
Mar 08, 2014 Elizabeth Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was so confused about the ending... What happened with her?
Jul 26, 2007 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006
i liked parts of this book a lot, but others seemed lacking development, or something. or maybe i was distracted by a few superficial details that irritated me.
Nov 08, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it
Quick read - don't read the inside flap before you start it or you'll be waiting for something to happen for most of the book. I liked the style and characters, though!
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elise rated it it was ok
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Susan Mcbrayer rated it it was amazing
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Dubbed the reigning queen of women's adventure fiction by Joanna Smith Rakoff in Book Magazine, Gwendolen Gross grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she studied science writing and voice performance. She spent a semester in Australia with a field studies program, studying spectacled fruit bats in the rainforest remnants of Northern Queensland.

After college sh
More about Gwendolen Gross...

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