“The Signature of All Things”
Elizabeth Gilbert’s first novel in twelve years is an extraordinary story of botany, exploration and desire, spanning across much of the 19th century. The novel follows the fortunes of the brilliant Alma Whittaker (daughter of a bold and charismatic botanical explorer) as she comes into her own within the world of plants and science. As Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she loves draws her in the opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose is a Utopian artist. But what unites this couple is a shared passion for knowing—a desperate need to understand the workings of this world, and the mechanism behind of all life.
The Signature of All Things is a big novel, about a big century. Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, this story novel soars across the globe—from London, to Peru, to Philadelphia, to Tahiti, to Amsterdam and beyond. It is written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time. Alma Whittaker is a witness to history, as well as maker of history herself. She stands on the cusp of the modern, with one foot still in the Enlightened Age, and she is certain to be loved by readers across the world.
Reviews & Profiles:
“The novel of a lifetime…”
“It’s a happy problem, high expectations, but a problem nonetheless. One option? Blow them out of the water. With her return to fiction for the first time in a dozen years, Elizabeth Gilbert has done just that…Looks like Gilbert keeps on raising the bar.”
“There is much pleasure in this unhurried, sympathetic, intelligent novel by an author confident in her material and her form.”
“Gilbert, in supreme command of her material, effortlessly invokes the questing spirit of the nineteenth century, when amateur explorers, naturalists, and enthusiasts were making major contributions to progress. Beautifully written and imbued with a reverence for science and for learning, this is a must-read.”
“Gilbert has established herself as a straight-up storyteller who dares us into adventures of worldly discovery, and this novel stands as a winning next act. The Signature of All Things is a bracing homage to the many natures of genius and the inevitable progress of ideas, in a world that reveals its best truths to uncommonly patient minds.” – by Barbara Kingsolver
“A sweeping saga…superb…writing seems lifted from pages written two centuries past…a brilliant exercise in intellect and imagination.”
“Ms. Gilbert has turned out the most ambitious and purely imagined work of her twenty-year career: a deeply researched and vividly rendered historical novel about a 19th century female botanist.”