"Nine tales of human endurance, accomplishment, and epiphany told with style and brio" (Kirkus) from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Winter Soldier and The Piano Tuner.
On a fateful flight, a balloonist makes a discovery that changes her life forever. A telegraph operator finds an unexpected companion in the middle of the Amazon. A doctor is beset by seizures, in which he is possessed by a second, perhaps better, version of himself. And in Regency London, a bare-knuckle fighter prepares to face his most fearsome opponent, while a young mother seeks a miraculous cure for her ailing son.
At times funny and irreverent, always moving and deeply urgent, these stories -- among them a National Magazine Award and a Pushcart Prize winner -- cap a fifteen-year project. From the Nile's depths to the highest reaches of the atmosphere, from volcano-racked islands to an asylum on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, these are tales of ecstasy, epiphany, and what the New York Times Magazine called the "struggle for survival . . . hand to hand, word to word," by "one of the finest prose stylists in American fiction."
About the Author
Daniel Mason is a physician and the author of the novels The Piano Tuner, A Far Country, and The Winter Soldier. His work has been translated into twenty-eight languages and adapted for opera and theater. A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, he is currently a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, where he teaches courses in the humanities and medicine.
"What I've found most remarkable about Mason's fiction is the quality of his revelations, his ability to unveil temperaments, habits, natures. His stories are mysteries, albeit not in the genre sense... In all of the stories, you can see Mason figuring out new strategies to get closer to the people he is writing about. Each is a portrait, each a deep dive into an individual's nature, each rooted in history."—Wyatt Mason, New York Times Magazine
"Mason conveys more in a short story than many authors manage in an entire novel."—Christian Science Monitor
"A wonderful set of period tales that offer a welcome transportive escape... conjuring a vivid world of scientific endeavor and human isolation in myriad settings."—Mariella Frostrup, BBC
"Daniel Mason is a masterful storyteller, and these stories---the attention to history and science and all that is unknown---are nothing short of brilliant. With exquisite, mesmerizing language, he transports us to places far beyond the realm of our realities and then lands us in ways wholly intimate and moving. A Registry Of My Passage Upon the Earth is a marvel and a journey not to be missed."—Jill McCorkle, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life
"An enchanting cabinet of curiosities and wonders... Mason is one of our best historical novelists, creating panoramas of rich detail, propulsive plot, and artful character development... In his first story collection, he shows how quickly and completely he can immerse readers in a foreign place and time... Nine tales of human endurance, accomplishment, and epiphany told with style and brio."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Mason's melodious, introspective collection locates startling depth in a series of engrossing character studies... The title story is a standout, rendered in the form of a madman's ravings, in which a gifted writer is compelled to obsessively catalogue every poignant piece of human existence. Mason is a brilliant wordsmith... and respectful of his readers by not giving away too much. Each story is informed and deepened by scientific inquisitiveness, and rewards readers with understated philosophical insight. This showcases Mason's wide range and mastery of lyrical precision."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Transporting... Pinpoint physical details and precisely articulated emotions collide with the mystical, while scientific quests drive characters to extremes... With touches of Borges and Calvino, Mason's fabulist stories are works of tenderness and awe for human curiosity, passion, mad valor, and profound resiliency."—Donna Seaman, Booklist
"A series of precisely crafted, often historically informed, stories about mystery and the unexpected turns of diverse lives."—Harvard Magazine
Praise for The Winter Soldier:
"The Winter Soldier brims with improbable narrative pleasures...These pages crackle with excitement -- and charging cavalries, false identities, arranged marriages, scheming industrialists and missing persons...Within the meticulously researched and magnificently realized backdrop of European dissolution, Mason finds his few lost souls, and shepherds them toward an elusive peace. Lucius's 'dream of being able to see another person's thinking' is not only the controlling metaphor of The Winter Soldier, but the work of literature more broadly. Lucius may fail, but the novel he carries is a spectacular success."—Anthony Marra, New York Times
"Part mystery, part war story, part romance, The Winter Soldier is a dream of a novel--impeccably researched and totally immersive. The unsinkable Margarete is a mesmerizing character, and the book's investigation into the psychiatric toll of war on its combatants could not be more timely. This novel convinces you with every sentence."—Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See
"The beauty of Mason's new novel persists even through scenes of unspeakable agony. That tension reflects the span of his talent...The story that unfolds in this forsaken place is so captivating that you may feel as unable to leave it as Lucius does."—Ron Charles, Washington Post
"I have been a Daniel Mason fan since The Piano Tuner. His abilities as a storyteller and a writer of the most gorgeous prose leave you wanting more. The Winter Soldier is a tour de force. I was immersed in the grandeur of Imperial Vienna and the frozen battlefields of the Eastern Front, and in this beautiful tale of love and war, and of our frailty and resilience in the face of both."—Abraham Verghese, bestselling author of Cutting for Stone
"Epic...Urgent, cinematically beautiful...Lucius is an irresistible protagonist...Not only does Mason make every crumb of pertinent history, culture, and geography so real throughout this saga that a reader feels instantly teleported into all of it, [but] The Winter Soldier delivers, in shocking detail, a relentless inventory of the era's medical knowledge and practices...Mason has created a magnificent world, urging us to savor every grain of it."—Joan Frank, San Francisco Chronicle
"As lyrical as a Viennese waltz and as delicate as crystal, Mason's riveting novel examines the human heart and the wounds of war with clear eyes and compassion."—People
"The Winter Soldier held me by the throat from the first lyrical page to the last. A story which manages to be as original as it is timeless, and above all, credible."—Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room
"So real, so rich and detailed, that the room in which I was reading vanished. I was transported to a lost world of the past. Suspenseful, thrilling, aching with emotion. Living with Lucius and Margarete, it was the First World War as I have never felt it."—Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less
"In The Winter Soldier, Daniel Mason achieves a deeply affecting balancing act, drawing us into the crushing agony of war while simultaneously stirring our hearts with an inspired and touching love story."—Georgia Hunter, bestselling author of We Were the Lucky Ones