Entertainment » Books

The Signature of All Things

by Daniel Scheffler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Sunday Oct 20, 2013
The Signature of All Things

After a 13 year wait, the mastermind behind the global hit "Eat Pray Love" has given us something new - " The Signature Of All Things." And it's good. Although Gilbert is no Proust, Atwood or Rushdie, she manages to tell a story that's highly relatable and interesting. So maybe she's more of a Jane Austen, then? She has the ability to make the life of her characters feel as though they are the life you as the reader are actually living. And she does so with seemingly very little graft and just a whole lot of natural flair.

Her latest is a work of fiction and spins right round, baby, with scholar Alma Whittaker in the center. It's not modern day, however, it's the 19th century. Alma is the son of a wealthy Henry Whittaker and the story rises around their relationship magically - their mutual love for botany and their passion for life and superior intellect connect them. And Alma, the heroine as per every Gilbert book, is flawed and in despair but can of course save herself from herself. But first she needs to introspect. A lot.

Gilbert has had an amazing career trajectory - a TED talk wonder (with millions of hits) and a best selling novel (at least one), and then of course let's not forget the Julia Roberts moment she's had, and I guess will always have with "Eat Pray Love." So what could she do next? She left memoirs, of course, and hopped back into fiction - and the fans cheer her along.

And Alma, the heroine as per every Gilbert book, is flawed and in despair but can of course save herself from herself.

One of the best lines in the book is so telling and so beautiful that it could be singled out as the statement of the day (or the year, says "Lean In") for women everywhere: "No, sir, you are incorrect. These are not water lilies. These are lotuses. Water lilies float on the surface of water, you see, while lotuses rise just above it. Once you learn the difference, you'll never make the mistake again."

The novel deals with everything we want to read about right now in the world - the rise of the female species, how exactly women are less inclined to ever need a man again, and then, of course, plants and exotic botanicals.

"The Signature Of All Things"
Elizabeth Gilbert
Viking Adult

Based between New York and Cape Town, Daniel Scheffler writes about socio political and travel matters and is working on a memoir. Follow him on Twitter @danielscheffler.


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