Why Fish Don't Exist
Fascinating
Layered
Educational

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

Lulu Miller2020
A wondrous debut from an extraordinary new voice in nonfiction, Why Fish Don’t Exist is a dark and astonishing tale of love, chaos, scientific obsession, and—possibly—even murder. 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 of his 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 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 reads like a fable about how to persevere in a world where chaos will always prevail.
Sign up to use

Reviews

Photo of chloe rae
chloe rae@heychloerae
4 stars
Feb 14, 2024
Photo of Michael Klepacki
Michael Klepacki@kleypack
4 stars
Jan 20, 2024
Candid
Meaningful
Surprising
Contemplative
Photo of Ali Angco
Ali Angco@aliangco
3.5 stars
Jan 13, 2024
Layered
Thought provoking
Photo of petrina
petrina@petrinaaa08
5 stars
Jan 8, 2024
Photo of jennifer
jennifer @booksvirgo
5 stars
Dec 18, 2023
Photo of Cloudface
Cloudface@cloudface
2 stars
Sep 17, 2023
Photo of Jenell Pizarro
Jenell Pizarro@nellarro
5 stars
Aug 30, 2023
Addictive
Fascinating
Educational
Heartwarming
Photo of Gabby W
Gabby W@gabbyw
5 stars
Jul 9, 2023
Photo of altlovesbooks
altlovesbooks@altlovesbooks
5 stars
Jul 5, 2023
Photo of Syrina Akbari
Syrina Akbari@syrinaina
4 stars
Jun 16, 2023
Layered
Eloquent
Photo of Kerry McHugh West
Kerry McHugh West@gettingkerryedaway
4.5 stars
Apr 28, 2023
Photo of mira lee
mira lee@miralee
3.5 stars
Apr 16, 2023
Goofy
Simple
Insightful
Contemplative
Photo of Shona Tiger
Shona Tiger@shonatiger
3 stars
Jan 19, 2023
Photo of Alex Ker
Alex Ker@alexker
5 stars
Dec 19, 2022
Photo of p.
p.@softrosemint
4 stars
Jun 19, 2022
Photo of Fraser Simons
Fraser Simons@frasersimons
5 stars
Jun 9, 2022
Photo of Jeremy Anderberg
Jeremy Anderberg@jeremyanderberg
4 stars
Nov 18, 2021
Photo of Andrew Marti
Andrew Marti@amarti
4 stars
Sep 14, 2021
Photo of Marcel
Marcel@marcel
5 stars
Aug 13, 2021
Photo of Jeremy Cote
Jeremy Cote@cote
5 stars
Aug 7, 2021
Photo of Jeremy Cote
Jeremy Cote@cote
5 stars
Aug 7, 2021
Photo of I.m. ruzz
I.m. ruzz@ruzz
5 stars
Jul 29, 2021
Photo of Paul Meskers
Paul Meskers@clams
4.5 stars
Dec 10, 2023
Photo of Olga V
Olga V@berrybell
4.5 stars
Nov 28, 2023
Layered
Fascinating
Intelligent

Highlights

Photo of Syrina Akbari
Syrina Akbari@syrinaina
Page 181
Photo of Syrina Akbari
Syrina Akbari@syrinaina
Page 179
Photo of Syrina Akbari
Syrina Akbari@syrinaina
Page 104
Photo of Syrina Akbari
Syrina Akbari@syrinaina
Page 103
Photo of Syrina Akbari
Syrina Akbari@syrinaina
Page 43
Photo of Syrina Akbari
Syrina Akbari@syrinaina
Page 42
Photo of Syrina Akbari
Syrina Akbari@syrinaina
Page 39
Photo of Syrina Akbari
Syrina Akbari@syrinaina
Page 33