Slow Dancing on Dinosaur Bones

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Step into Lee's Machine Shop and meet Gilman Lee, infamous for his blues guitar, bootleg whiskey, and lovemaking. If you're a friend, he'll roll out the good times. If you're an enemy, he'll bite your ears off. Gilman dazzles nearly everyone except Gemma Collet, a cynical young woman who wrote her own ten commandments and follows them. Why, suddenly, is the whole world knocking on the door of Pick, Kentucky? It's in a county so remote that there are no craft shops, yogurt huts, or fast-food restaurants. Entering ...
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NY 1996 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Gift Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Packed in Bubble wrap. Pristine. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 416 p. Audience: ... General/trade. Gift Quality. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Packed in Bubble wrap. Pristine. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Step into Lee's Machine Shop and meet Gilman Lee, infamous for his blues guitar, bootleg whiskey, and lovemaking. If you're a friend, he'll roll out the good times. If you're an enemy, he'll bite your ears off. Gilman dazzles nearly everyone except Gemma Collet, a cynical young woman who wrote her own ten commandments and follows them. Why, suddenly, is the whole world knocking on the door of Pick, Kentucky? It's in a county so remote that there are no craft shops, yogurt huts, or fast-food restaurants. Entering the region is like being swallowed by a living thing: a dinosaur or some other prehistoric animal that has evolved into a geographical area for reasons of self-preservation. Sent inland by the ocean's waves, Tom Jett, a philosopher from California, lands in Pick when his car breaks down. Frank Denton sneaks into town, bringing his grim search for Rosalie Wilson, one of Pick's own, a woman blessed with green eyes and a torch singer's voice. Meanwhile, the Conroy Coal Company is there to do what it's done since time immemorial - persuade people to sign coal leases that seldom pay off.

Like Cathie Pelletier and Fannie Flagg, Lana Witt cuts a piece of American pie that is at once wonderfully exotic and absolutely irresistible. This brilliant debut, set in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, tells the riveting story of what happens to ancient friends and ancient enemies when strangers come to town.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rich characterization and black humor with a thick Southern accent distinguish Witt's irresistible debut novel. Tom Jett, freshly equipped with a degree in philosophy, has left California for the open road. After three months of traveling, his Toyota breaks down outside Pick, Ky., a three-street mountain town that is being bought up by the Conroy Coal Company. Gilman Lee, Pick's premier mechanic, bootlegger, lover and musician, offers to put Tom up in a rundown cabin; in exchange, Tom is to keep a lookout for Conroy Coal augers trying to burrow under Gilman's land in search of new deposits. But Gilman hasn't told Tom that he keeps the skeleton of his best friend, Zack-upright in a chair, cigarette in hand-in the old smokehouse near the cabin. The odd nature of the town becomes clearest to Tom, however, when he spots Gemma Collet sitting naked in a nearby creek, covering herself with mud. Gemma, he learns, has ``been mad ever since she turned white''-i.e., contracted vitilego-at age 18. Gemma and Tom's romance makes cautious progress until Rosalie Wilson, Gilman's great lost love, returns from Florida, on the run from her rich but homicidal lover. Witt's talent, big and pleasingly quirky, marks her as a fresh new voice. (Feb.)
Library Journal
When the folks at the machine shop society in eastern Pick, Kentucky, wage war against a coal company, unadulterated havoc erupts. Each bedeviled by a special loss and inspired by the love of drink and music, the citizens of Pick engage in murder, make love, and live troubled lives puntuated with humor. There's Ten-fifteen, "who was born with arms that stick out from his sides like the hands of a clock." His best friend is Gilman Lee, a blues musician mechanic, who conspires to eliminate the coal company. Tom Jett, a California philosopher, is just plain lost and seeks the right mountain range to call home. Gemma, milkshake white from a skin disease, is feisty, hell-bent, and incapable of deciding whom she loves more, Tom or Gilman Lee. In a clever first novel, Witt, a native Kentuckian, presents a high-spirited work replete with romance, suspense, and fascinating eccentrics. Highly recommended for avid readers.-Mary Ellen Elsbernd, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Michele Leber
Guitar-playing mechanic Gilman Lee is the social center of the mountain town of Pick, Kentucky. The "local king of auto repair" and a bootlegger in a dry county, he regularly hosts parties in his apartment adjoining the machine shop, where he is assisted by Ten-Fifteen, so called because he was born with arms stuck out from his body like the hands of a clock. Always a magnet for the ladies, Gilman has loved them and left them with ease until, at the age of 54, he finds himself stubbornly attracted only to "white lady" Gemma Collet, who lost her lover and her good nature when she lost all her pigment. But things change with the arrival of Stanford-educated Tom Jett, roaming the country until his car breaks down, and the return of Gilman's old flame, Rosalee Wilson, seeking refuge from a murderous lover. Romantic relationships shift, and a revolt against a coal company's strip mining becomes intertwined with Rosalee's fear for her life, as Witt serves up love, lust, terrorism, and murder, southern gothic style. An impressive literary debut, with characters not soon forgotten.
Joan Hinkemeyer
"Southern storytelling is at its best in Lina Witt's new novel....As in the best traditions of classical drama, the characters complement and balance each other with an almost Shakesperean richness and oridinariness."-- Rocky Mountain News
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684815350
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 1/2/1996
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2008

    A Masterpiece Worthy of More Attention

    It has been about ten years since I stumbled upon this book and read it -- while on vacation with my family, grandparents and all. The laughter which kept erupting from me throughout the book created quite a stir. In time, that little masterpiece was passed around and all adults agreed that it was one of the best 'reads' they had come across in quite some time. A delightful surprise! What makes Dinosaur Bones such a rich and captivating novel is its unique cast of characters, all wonderfully sculpted into form by Witt's capable imagination. After a decade, I still find myself thinking of Gemma and her hilarious and irreverent attempts to provoke anxiety in her mother I delight in the memories of Gilman and his 'Welcome All!' approach to life. What perhaps can be said that will drive home the point that this book has something that each and every one of us can relate to is this: those characters, when combined into a novel, are quite like a family. We all have them: the nut-cases, the ones who drew the genetic short stick, the ones who believe they are commanded by God to dictate other folks' behaviors, etc. Just like a family, dysfunctional or not. Read it, and prepare for the laughter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2008

    What is in a name?

    This book was very fun to read and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I read this book when i was in the sixth grade for free time. I loved it. I got in trouble when the teacher found out the book had many swears. The book does not have anything to do with Dinosaur Bones but it is sort of a metaphor. This is a great love story.

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