Remembering the Bones: A Novel

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Overview

Best-selling author Frances Itani’s second novel is a beautifully written, moving tale of the staying power of family through time and memory, and the extent to which individual lives can influence and resonate in the world around them. Born on the exact same day as Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Canadian Georgina Witley is invited to an eightieth birthday lunch at Buckingham Palace. All she has to do is drive to the airport and board the plane for London. Except that Georgie drives off the edge of the road, ...

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Remembering the Bones: A Novel

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Overview

Best-selling author Frances Itani’s second novel is a beautifully written, moving tale of the staying power of family through time and memory, and the extent to which individual lives can influence and resonate in the world around them. Born on the exact same day as Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Canadian Georgina Witley is invited to an eightieth birthday lunch at Buckingham Palace. All she has to do is drive to the airport and board the plane for London. Except that Georgie drives off the edge of the road, her car plunging into a thickly wooded ravine. Thrown from the car, injured, and unable to move, she must rely on her full store of family memories, her no-nonsense wit, and a recitation of the names of the bones in her body—an exercise from childhood—to remind her she is still alive. As Georgina lies stranded and helpless, she reflects on her role as a daughter, mother, sister, wife, and widow, on lost loves and painful secrets.

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Editorial Reviews

Susann Cokal
Throughout, the bones provide just the right structural underpinnings, holding Georgie's story together from inside the narrative. Presented in loose chronological order, each fragment of memory is fascinating in its own way, moving from childhood's elemental fears and discoveries to the conflicted joys and pains of adulthood. Itani deftly brings them together, dipping into the past to illuminate the present moment, building such emotional complexity that the novel's ending—both inevitable and surprising—is as subtle as it is wrenching. With this book, Itani joins a group of novelists who have chronicled quiet lives from start to finish, uncovering treasure in their dark corners: Carol Shields with The Stone Diaries, Marilynne Robinson with Gilead.
—The New York Times
Library Journal

Georgie, an 80-year-old Canadian widow, is heading to the airport for the trip of a lifetime: Queen Elizabeth II has invited her and 98 others born on the queen's birthday to London for a days-long birthday celebration. Georgie, however, loses control of her car less than a mile from her home and is thrown to the bottom of a steep ravine. Grievously wounded and drifting in and out of consciousness, she reflects on her long, rich life, confronts her tragedies and blessings, and bemoans being kept from her lifelong dream of meeting the queen. As she struggles mightily to stay alive, she comforts herself by taking inventory of all the bones in her body, which she learned as a child fascinated with her grandfather's copy of Gray's Anatomy. In her second novel to be published in the United States, Itani (Deafening) takes the premise of a ghastly "if only" moment in life that can be so catastrophically transformative and crafts a beautiful novel filled with unbearable tension over Georgie's chances for survival. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ9/15/07.]
—Beth E. Andersen

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802144003
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 792,534
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 21, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Canadian Author - Great read

    We are introduced to Georgie Danforth Whitley. She is a Canadian widow. Her Husband passed away 3 years ago. Georgie is getting ready to go to London, England. She has been invited to London for a celebratory luncheon honoring Queen Elizabeth¿s 80th birthday. She shares the same birthday with the Queen. She is one of 99 commoners who have been invited. We discover that Georgie is fascinated with the Queen. (BTW most Canadians are fascinated with the royal family.) Through all Georgies careful planning she will not make it to the palace this time.<BR/><BR/>On the way to the local airport Georgie gets distracted and her car slips off the road, through the guard rail and flips twice down the hillside. Georgie is thrown from the car into the brush. There is no visible sign from the road that an accident ever occured.<BR/><BR/>Georgie is alone and helpless. When she was a little girl she dicovered her grandfathers 1901 Edition of Grays Anatomy. She memorized all the bones in a human body. Which you will discover that after the first chapter all the other chapters in the book are named after bones in the body. Each bone tells a story from her past.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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