Phoebe Cornelius, the protagonist of “The Ether of Space,” the second of the five long stories in this collection, makes a living explaining scientific concepts to laymen. This is Andrea Barrett’s forte also. Three of these stories are set in the wings of some great scientific discovery: Phoebe is trying to comprehend Einstein’s Relativity; her son Sam becomes a pioneer in the relatively new science of genetics; and an earlier story explores the impact of Darwinism on the younger generation of scientists in America. In all these cases, Barrett explains the underlying concepts with great clarity.
For any reader who revels in confident, lyrical prose â€“ rich in detail with meticulously chosen words â€“ Alice Greenwayâ€™s book will enchant.
The storyline focuses on the elderly and irascible ornithologist Jim Kennoway, who, at the end of his career, retreats to a Maine island after his leg is amputated. There, tortured by past memories and fortified by alcohol and solitude, he eschews the company of others. Yet early on, he receives an unwanted visitor: Cadillac, the daughter of Tosca, who teamed with him as a scout to spy on the Japanese army in the Solomon Islands.
In his debut novel, HARBINGER, Jack Skillingstead takes the reader to present day Earth in the midst of an evolutionary change. Ellis Herrick wakes up from a strange dream feeling different. More alive. And so does Nichole, the girl next door. So different, in fact, that she invites him to her room and her bed, even though they were just casual friends, neighbors, and she with a boyfriend. But wait, it’s not a coming of age story. Unless perhaps it’s the population of Earth that is coming of age.