Chrissie's Reviews > Ship Fever: Stories

Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett
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Jun 04, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: hf, science, short, text-checked, medical
Recommended to Chrissie by: Joanna

Thank you Joanna for really pushing and pushing for me to read this - you see I do not like short stories! Joanna didn't give up on me b/c she knew what I like in books and she knew this book just could not be missed, despite that it was short stories. If you like short stories, you would probably give it 5 stars. The last story Ship Fever was longer and that clinched it for me.

Science and history come alive in the fictional story Barrett weaves around the true facts! Here one sees the advantage of fiction over non-fiction. You get into the heads of the scientists and of the people living through tremendous times of suffering which history tends to be composed of. Ship Fever is about the Irish immigrants emigrating to Canada during the potato famine. The US had practically cut off its borders. These immigrants were starving and sick - here it wasn't plague but typhus! A glorius mixture of love and coldness, greed and caring and nonchalance - all emotions are there to be experienced and felt. You almost feel you are one of the main characters b/c the author has made them so real. You are in their heads.

Other stories were fabulous too - although too short! OK, I am Swedish so it is perhaps not strange that I loved the story entitled The English Pupil. It is about Carl Linnaeus, when he is very old and confused. It takes place in Uppsala and Hammarby and I have walked there millions of times. The Botanical Gardens. The reader is right there. Again you are not looking from the outside at what is occurring but from the inside, from Linnaeus' head and also from the others who so well knew him.

Barrett is extremely good at presenting how women see an issue. Intelligent women living at a time when they were not suppose to be interested in anything other than helping their husbands, food and servants and the house. Some had other interests and yes they let themselves follow these interests. You cannot help but laugh and be happy for them - see the story Rare Birds. The stories occurr during the 1700s and 1800s.

I have to choose what book to read next by this author. Her ability to make science and history come alive is magnificent. This is achieved through her outstanding ability to get the reader inside the characters' heads. It is this latter ability that will help me choose which book to read.
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Reading Progress

08/07/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Chrissie Excellent writing. that I could give four stars for a book short stories is amazing. I can understand that the Irish one was perfect for you. They were in fact all good.

Have you read anything else by the author. I haven't.


Chrissie I looked through the other books, and none really draw me.


message 3: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam Great review Chrissie! I don't normally like short story collections but this book was the exception! She has another collection "The Air We Breathe" which extends the families of some of the characters. I'm going to try it next, since I enjoyed her writing so much.


message 4: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan Pam, There are many books with the title The Air We Breathe. Do you happen to know the author or have a link? Thanks.


message 5: by Chrissie (last edited Aug 07, 2016 11:40PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chrissie Pam, I was thinking of reading this one: The Voyage of the Narwhal. Thanks for reminding me! I switched it now to my wishlist. This one isn't even short stories and we get interesting facts with good writing. Sounds good huh?

Lisa, you can find the link to the book Pam spoke of by looking at the author's books. Here is the link: The Air We Breathe


Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* I love short stories! Great review Chrissie.


Chrissie Sandy, it you like science themed books then you really must try Ship Fever: Stories.


message 8: by Candi (new) - added it

Candi This collection sounds fantastic. I have not heard of this before, but I am most definitely adding it now. Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Chrissie.


Chrissie Candi, I just hope you like it as much as I did.


message 10: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks Thanks Chrissie, this looks lovely.


message 11: by Pam (new) - added it

Pam Walter Thanks Chrissie. I'll have to give it a try. I have never read anything about the Irish potato famine and have recently felt intrigued.


Chrissie You are both welcome, but I should point out to you that I am not reading this now. I simply corrected a misspelling I found in it.


message 13: by Manny (new) - added it

Manny You certainly made me want to read this. I love short stories if well crafted. A well crafted short story is a little gem.


Chrissie I liked it a lot, and I don't usually like short stories.

I hope it pleases you as much it did me. So far this is my favorite by the author.


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