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A Bone From a Dry Sea by Peter Dickinson

A Bone From a Dry Sea (1992)

by Peter Dickinson

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It's actually unfortunate that some teachers have assigned this, because it really is not the kind of book that appeals to people who don't like to read anything outside their comfort zone.

Sometimes some of the characters' behaviors are bit implausible - for example Vinny is awfully sensitive to her parents' perspectives, and also she's amazingly able to articulate, to her father, why her mother is a good person but not a good wife to him.

Other than that - marvelous. It is absolutely fascinating to imagine what the certain particular stage of human evolution that was explored here might have been like - especially for one thoughtful girl-child living through it. The child and the people of her tribe and community are beguiling.

The modern part of the story was interesting, too. It's nice to think of science as a noble pursuit, but issues of egos and of funding are all too influential, as this book makes more clear than I'd ever fully realized before.

Smart, gracefully written, thoughtful - and for the right readers, engaging. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
RGG: Duel narrative of a prehistoric girl's survival with her tribe and a contemporary girl's participation in an archealogical dig. The prehistoric story is more interesting
  rgruberexcel | Sep 2, 2012 |
Vinny, a modern girl is reunited with her father on a fossil dig in Africa. She is exploring the fossil remains of another girl--and the other narrator of the story--who lived millions of years ago. Follow Li, a hominid who lived when the flat plain was a sea, and Vinny, who is finding herself as she discovers fossils of a distant age. ( )
  rebecca401 | Jun 24, 2011 |
Recommended by Lynne - A really good read. ( )
  Evynrude | Aug 22, 2009 |
Loved this little gem of a book. ( )
  mjfmjfmjf | Jun 14, 2009 |
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Myth in all tongues credits the dolphins with
Making the bays they visit happy, waking
Song in flint cottages that lacked it long.
Man haunts what shores he can.
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The child clung to the rock, letting the broken waves of the bay wash over her, cooling the fierce sunlight.
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Two girls in Africa--one on the seashore, one in the dry country of East Africa. One girl worried about sharks, the other worried about leopards and snakes and the heat. Both worried about big macho bullies who want to control everything. The only difference is--Li and Vinny live four million years apart.

Vinny has come to visit her divorced father on an archaeological dig in Africa. The country is strange, and so is her situation. She can't even get up to go to the bathroom at night because leopards roam the area then. At the same time, she can't talk to her father about stuff because his colleagues are arguing with him about where to dig for fossils. Things get complicated when Vinny finds a fossil that shouldn't really belong there, and starts to discover more about the sea apes, ape ancestors who lived off food from the sea, and lived in the sea as well as they did on land, in the exact same spot where Vinny's father is digging.

The story jumps back and forth from Vinny to Li, as Vinny speculates what happened to Li, and Li tells her story of fighting for power with the male leader of her tribe of apes. Will the archaeologists in the dig believe that Vinny has found a missing link? Will Li be able to save her tribe from a killer tidal wave headed her way?
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In two parallel stories, an intelligent female member of a prehistoric tribe becomes instrumental in advancing the lot of her people, and the daughter of a paleontologist is visiting him on a dig in Africa when important fossil remains are discovered.… (more)

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