Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

“Eat Pray Love” Author Writes Amazing Fictional Tale. . .


Have you heard of Elizabeth GilbertThe Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert

Perhaps you read the book, Eat Pray Love; or, saw the movie?

Well, Ms Gilbert wrote a few fiction titles and did some journalism before Eat Pray Love.

In fact, here’s a bibliography of her work

The specific work of fiction I want to talk about is her 2013 release, The Signature of All Things.

Wikipedia’s “overview” does not do the book any justice, at all:

“The story follows Alma Whittaker, daughter of a 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, she starts a spiritual journey which spans the 19th Century.”

Actually, if I hadn’t already read Eat Pray Love and known Ms Gilbert was an accomplished writer, I would never have read The Signature of All Things based on Wikipedia’s description

But, I have read The Signature of All Things…

Literary explosions happened…

Tears often fell…

My authorial spirit was enlightened…

I was shocked to my core approximately six times…

And, the story’s events may have happened in the 18th and 19th Centuries; but, the writing was extremely accessible

Since I’m not a real book reviewer, I’ll share a few excerpts of others’ reviews that say things I can agree with…

From GoodReads:

“Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, ‘The Signature of All Things’ soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad.”

From The New York Times:

“The novel is frontloaded with its most hair-raising exploits as back story on Alma’s father, a plant thief whose boyhood punishment was to be packed off on the madcap voyages of Captain Cook. Real events provide ample substrate for a novel that entwines the historic and the imagined so subtly as to read like good nonfiction for most of its first half. It crosses over to page turner after the introduction of the author’s most beguiling invention, the deliciously named Ambrose Pike.”

From The Guardian:

“Each passage of this sprawling novel is written with an astonishing eye for just the right amount of period or environmental detail. The character of Alma Whittaker is so believable, so deeply drawn and so likable for its complexity and open spirit, that it is impossible not to be engrossed by every twist and turn of her thoughts and imaginings. In fact, one of Gilbert’s most impressive achievements is making Alma’s journey a universal one, despite anchoring her protagonist’s life in a different time and sending her to the furthest corners of the unexplored earth.”

And, from The Washington Post:

“Gilbert has been a journalist, a biographer, short-story writer, novelist, memoirist and, perhaps most famously, a celebrated ‘Oprah author’, but she continues to set higher goals for herself. Like Victor Hugo or Émile Zola, she captures something important about the wider world in ‘The Signature of All Things’: a pivotal moment in history when progress defined us in concrete ways.”

Still, this book may not be suitable for every reader…

I suppose that’s true of all books………
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