Barrett’s The Voyage of the Narwhal is one of my favorite books, and I’ve also enjoyed most all of her short fiction that I’ve read. She does an enviable job of rooting stories in historical science (Narwhal is all about a naturalist expedition that becomes stranded in the Arctic), and this collection of linked stories taking place around the turn of the 20th century appears to succeed on that front as well. I’ve already ordered a copy, look for my own review later in the month.
This one has an interesting premise: long prose descriptions of four fields on different corners of the globe. Could be dry and pretentious, or it could be interesting. England, Montana, and Zambia might be interesting to see depicted, but it’s seeing how they compare to the fourth field, in irradiated Chernobyl, that piques my curiosity.
Here’s another Dirda review of a 100-year-old book. A predecessor of the modern spy novel, this story about two men’s mysterious sea journey actually sounds pretty intriguing, if a little dry. It seems not unlike a previous recommendation from Dirda (The Balloonist), that I picked up but got bored of. I’m probably passing on this one, but it might be worth a shot. In any case, I’m really enjoying all these “reviews” of old books Dirda’s been putting out for whatever reason.