Hello friends —

I am so happy to share with you this absolutely lovely review of my new book, from the October issue of Elle Magazine, which is about to hit the stands this week:

“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. The Signature of All Things (Viking) is a beautiful rumination on a life from start to near end, specifically the life of stubborn, talented, nineteenth-century-Philadelphia-dwelling Alma Whittaker. Gilbert’s book takes us from the Age of Enlightenment to the Industrial Revolution, with side trips into the abolitionist struggle, the horrors of premodern mental-health care, the Civil War, and Darwin’s theorizing about natural selection. But she never veers far from the personal, focusing most of her attention on the exquisite biome of Alma’s family. There’s her beautiful but emotionally withdrawn adopted sister, Prudence; Alma’s bear of a father, whom we follow in the early chapters as he scrambles to make his fortune; her steely Dutch mother; and finally—a distraction that threatens to send her life’s work off course—the flighty and angelic illustrator Ambrose Pike. The real treat of the text is Gilbert’s lyrical writing. She manages to spin the study of mosses into something fascinating and, for Alma, comforting (no small feat, given that watching grass grow usually communicates eye-rolling dismissal, not entertainment value). She finds and illuminates passion in biology and dusty chests of books for both Alma and us—even those of us not exactly moved to tears by botanical drawings of orchids. While there is high-stakes adventure for the Whittakers on the high seas and in the exploration of distant lands, it’s a writer of true talent who can ignite a thudding heartbeat from a description of clasped hands in a closet. Looks like Gilbert keeps on raising the bar."


And if any of you want to pre-order this bar-raising jam (yeah, baby!) you can do so right here:

SO much love to you all, and less than 3 weeks to go now till publication!!!

Counting the days,


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall