Shop for your loved ones early this holiday season, online or in-store! Learn why.

We have resumed regular hours in our physical store.

Due to a construction mishap in an adjacent property, we still have no power in our cookbook section and some of the gift area, so these remain temporarily closed.

Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life

A Best Book of 2020: The Washington Post * NPR * Chicago Tribune * Smithsonian

A “remarkable” (Los Angeles Times), “seductive” (The Wall Street Journal) debut from the new cohost of Radiolab, Why Fish Don’t Exist is a dark and astonishing tale of love, chaos, scientific obsession, and—possibly—even murder.​

“At one point, Miller dives into the ocean into a school of fish…comes up for air, and realizes she’s in love. That’s how I felt: Her book took me to strange depths I never imagined, and I was smitten.” The New York Times Book Review

David Starr Jordan was a taxonomist, a man possessed with bringing order to the natural world. In time, he would be credited with discovering nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans in his day. But the more of the hidden blueprint of life he uncovered, the harder the universe seemed to try to thwart him. His specimen collections were demolished by lightning, by fire, and eventually by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake—which sent more than a thousand discoveries, housed in fragile glass jars, plummeting to the floor. In an instant, his life’s work was shattered.

Many might have given up, given in to despair. But Jordan? He surveyed the wreckage at his feet, found the first fish that he recognized, and confidently began to rebuild his collection. And this time, he introduced one clever innovation that he believed would at last protect his work against the chaos of the world.

When NPR reporter Lulu Miller first heard this anecdote in passing, she took Jordan for a fool—a cautionary tale in hubris, or denial. But as her own life slowly unraveled, she began to wonder about him. Perhaps instead he was a model for how to go on when all seemed lost. What she would unearth about his life would transform her understanding of history, morality, and the world beneath her feet.

Part biography, part memoir, part scientific adventure, Why Fish Don’t Exist is a wondrous fable about how to persevere in a world where chaos will always prevail.

Lulu Miller is the cohost of Radiolab, cofounder of NPR’s Invisibilia, and a Peabody Award–winning science journalist. Her writing has been published in The New YorkerVQROrionElectric LiteratureCatapult, and beyond. Her favorite spot on earth is Humpback Rocks. 

ISBN: 9781501160271

ISBN-10: 9781501160271

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 04/14/2020 - 12:00am

On Sale: 04/14/2020 - 12:00am

Pages: 240

Language: English

Categories

Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology

Nature / Animals / Fish

Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs