The Signature of All Things
I have just completed reading the most wonderful book by a most
wonderful author. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert is
truly an amazing story.
It is evident on every page that the
author painstakingly researched and toiled for many years to write this
sweeping, historically sound, epic novel of desire, ambition, and utmost
need for knowledge. This novel is definitely in the category of
literary fiction that ranks high on the list with such works as
Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
would have thought that the subject matter of mosses would be so
delightfully interesting and spectacularly entertaining? Apparently,
quite a lot of readers (including me) do and are fully embracing this
new novel from this amazing author.
Gilbert successfully makes
the lead character, Alma Whittaker, moss-loving woman of the 19th
century into someone the reader cannot help but like - I would even go
as far as to say "adore".
From Alma's birth through the years
right before her death, the author takes you on a world-wind tour of
the Whittaker estate (White Acre) in Philadelphia across the oceans to
Tahiti and finally to Holland - all the while narrating the sights,
sounds, smells of animals and people that Alma encounters along the way.
the beginning of the book is very informative and provides much in
regard to Alma's lineage and upbringing, the story becomes more
interesting and fully unfolds at the midpoint of the book. Up to this
point, Alma has dedicated her life to moss study and scientific
reasoning, but then she encounters Ambrose Pike. Smitten with this new
beau, one thing leads to another and the two wed shortly thereafter.
events that take place after their exchange of vows are at times
(psychologically) hard to read, but these events lead the story into the
next phases of Alma's life. The first one being a phase of removing
familiar surroundings one is accustomed to; then on to removing the
"baggage" of life and finally to the last phase - one of discovery.
I whole-heartedly recommend this novel to anyone who appreciates literary, historical fiction. You will not be disappointed.