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Voyage of the Narwhal

A Novel

Andrea Barrett (Author, Williams College)

Overview | Inside the Book

"A luminous work of historical fiction that explores the far reaches of the Arctic and of men's souls." —Denver Post

Capturing a crucial moment in the history of exploration—the mid-nineteenth century romance with the Arctic—Andrea Barrett's compelling novel tells the story of a fateful expedition. Through the eyes of the ship's scholar-naturalist, Erasmus Darwin Wells, we encounter the Narwhal's crew, its commander, and the far-north culture of the Esquimaux. In counterpoint, we meet the women left behind in Philadelphia, explorers only in imagination. Together, those who travel and those who stay weave a web of myth and mystery, finally discovering what they had not sought, the secrets of their own hearts.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • September 1999
  • ISBN 978-0-393-31950-7
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 416 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Breathes with a contemporary urgency, an exhilarating adventure novel…A genuine page turner that long lingers in the mind.” — Philip Graham, Chicago Tribune

“Breathtaking…exquisitely written in every way…fully worthy of the massive, dangerous subject it undertakes.” — Cleveland Plain Dealer

“[B]oth cunningly cerebral and hair-raisingly visceral…This is an astonishingly good book by a writer we must declare as major.” — Newsday

“A wonderful book in the truest sense of the word—wonder-filled.” — USA Today

“This novel takes off over the sea, straight out of history and into tragedy…We get to luxuriate in the promise of retribution and in finely calibrated, persuasive prose.” — The New Yorker

“Stunning…Barrett shows the arrogance and delusion that drove the age of exploration better than any nonfiction book could.” — Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Times

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