Ship Fever, Andrea Barrett, 1996
This collection of short stories won the National Book Award for its then-unknown author. The book was recommended in the NYT Book Review interview with Anthony Doerr in By the Book, and I was able to find a used copy at Books on the Lake. It’s a splendid collection combining historical fiction with scientific detail. Mendel, Linnaeus, adultery among academics, two women who run off to pursue their avian studies and theories in 18th C. England, a Wallace-like collector in the 19th C, and the eponymous story of typhus in Irish refugees in 1847 Canada. These are wonderfully wrought, detailed, and human in scale. A new and exciting writer to add to my collection.