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Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
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Remarkable Creatures (2009)

by Tracy Chevalier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,6492023,315 (3.88)382
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» See also 382 mentions

English (190)  French (5)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (203)
Showing 1-5 of 190 (next | show all)

"She sells seashells" . . . .

People have been trying to wrap their heads and words about the story of Mary Anning for a long time, including [a:Tracy Chevalier|1973|Tracy Chevalier|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1205263277p2/1973.jpg] here in [b:Remarkable Creatures|6457081|Remarkable Creatures|Tracy Chevalier|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZKCbA0NEL._SL75_.jpg|6647405].

[b:Remarkable Creatures|6457081|Remarkable Creatures|Tracy Chevalier|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZKCbA0NEL._SL75_.jpg|6647405] doesn't have the same sure hand or intricately drawn world as [b:Girl with a Pearl Earring|76847|Girl with a Pearl Earring|Tracy Chevalier|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170899733s/76847.jpg|3358875], but Chevalier's own curiosity in her subject can not be doubted as you can see in this BBC slide show narrated by [a:Tracy Chevalier|1973|Tracy Chevalier|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1205263277p2/1973.jpg] and this Barnes and Noble Studio beach walk interview with on [a:Tracy Chevalier|1973|Tracy Chevalier|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1205263277p2/1973.jpg] (Thanks, Eric, for sending me this link, wonderful interview).

Anning's accomplishments are so big that the interior romantic life [a:Tracy Chevalier|1973|Tracy Chevalier|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1205263277p2/1973.jpg] imagines for her seems almost sophmoric.

GR user Hellie writes in her review that "maybe inventing new characters rather than shoehorning some real life people into it would have worked better". I agree.

Anning, her Lyme seashore, and the scientific discourse of her time are all fascinating topics for consideration. In creating the yin/yang of her dual protagonists Chevalier stretches the boundaries of historical fiction a little too far for me.


Duria Antiquior
by Henry De la Beche based on fossils found by Mary Anning

Anning's own contemporaries and their theological preoccupation at the time with whether God's creatures literally endure is quite interesting and some of these same concepts will perplex [a:Teilhard de Chardin|4701135|Teilhard de Chardin|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg] nearly one hundred years later.

Here's an animated sequence my friend Jill found of dialog from the historical novel [b:Curiosity|7904475|Curiosity|Joan Thomas|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NvqOUrTdL._SL75_.jpg|11165855], by [a:Joan Thomas|632570|Joan Thomas|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg], contrasting the perspectives of a typical 19th century Englishman with French naturalist and zoologist [a:Georges Cuvier|251770|Georges Cuvier|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg] who doubted Anning's findings.

Chevalier is not the only author to speculate about Anning's past and I will look forward to learning more about her life and times both in historical fiction,as well as from a variety of biographies.

[bc:The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World|6538811|The Fossil Hunter Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World|Shelley Emling|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1275850477s/6538811.jpg|6731033]
[b:The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World|6538811|The Fossil Hunter Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World|Shelley Emling|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1275850477s/6538811.jpg|6731033]

[bc:Curiosity|7904475|Curiosity|Joan Thomas|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NvqOUrTdL._SL75_.jpg|11165855]
[b:Curiosity|7904475|Curiosity|Joan Thomas|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NvqOUrTdL._SL75_.jpg|11165855]

[bc:The French Lieutenant's Woman|56034|The French Lieutenant's Woman|John Fowles|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266770678s/56034.jpg|1816464]
[b:The French Lieutenant's Woman|56034|The French Lieutenant's Woman|John Fowles|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266770678s/56034.jpg|1816464]

[bc:The Dragon in the Cliff: A Novel Based on the Life of Mary Anning|1881452|The Dragon in the Cliff A Novel Based on the Life of Mary Anning|Sheila Cole|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1189694791s/1881452.jpg|1882487]
[b:The Dragon in the Cliff: A Novel Based on the Life of Mary Anning|1881452|The Dragon in the Cliff A Novel Based on the Life of Mary Anning|Sheila Cole|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1189694791s/1881452.jpg|1882487]

[bc:Jurassic Mary: Mary Anning and the Primeval Monsters|2093412|Jurassic Mary Mary Anning and the Primeval Monsters|Patricia Pierce|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31doTt5OgML._SL75_.jpg|2098771]
[b:Jurassic Mary: Mary Anning and the Primeval Monsters|2093412|Jurassic Mary Mary Anning and the Primeval Monsters|Patricia Pierce|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31doTt5OgML._SL75_.jpg|2098771]

Dr. Torrens' "Presidential Address: Mary Anning (1799-1847) of Lyme; 'the greatest fossilist the world ever knew'" British Journal of the History of Science, 1995, vol. 28, pp. 257-284.
( )
  nkmunn | Nov 17, 2018 |
Interesting subject matter about the fossil gathering women of Lyme Regis, and the unlikely friendship of the middle class Elizabeth Philpot and poor but brilliant fossil hunter Mary Anning. I enjoyed the world of fossils and the glimpse into the life and limitations of women in the beginning of the 19th century. I started losing interest when Chevalier turned the story into a Jane Austen-inspred (she even mentions her) agonizing over signs of love, petty jealousy, and the lack of marriage prospects for moneyless spinsters. I found the details of how difficult it was for a woman to get around overwrought - she couldn't be out alone, she could not enter the Geological Society, she constantly needed chaperoning, her words were not taken seriously - I get it, no need to hammer it in. I felt that the spat over Colonel Birtch and the ensuing estrangement bogged the story down. What was a promising novel about women's friendship and triumph over obstacles turned into letting men ruin both. ( )
1 vote Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
A very interesting novel! I had no idea that the discovery of fossilized remains shook the world so dramatically. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Great book - factual and inspirational - having been to Lyme, walked on the cliffs and bought a fossil ammonite - reading more about Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpott was an enjoyable weekend read. ( )
  siri51 | Apr 22, 2018 |
I would not have minded extra 200 pages about Mary's adult working life. I felt like too much of the book was dedicated to hers and Elizabeth's younger days and too few was written about their adult life. A very enjoyable read overall, especially if you are interested in the subject. ( )
  bookwormelf | Mar 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 190 (next | show all)
Unless you have a deep and unabiding passion for fossils, you'll want to leave this specimen alone.
added by Shortride | editUSA Today, Donna Freydkin (Feb 2, 2010)
 
Giant marine reptiles are not the only remarkable creatures in this book. Chevalier turns a warming spotlight on a friendship cemented by shared obsession and mutual respect across profound class fissures; a friendship between two women who were indirectly responsible for several male careers and ultimately (partially, very indirectly) for Darwin's insights. She also gives it what Darwin himself considered mandatory in a novel, a happy ending - or happy enough.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chevalier, Tracyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lyons, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morahan, HattieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parry, CharlotteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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People/Characters
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Epigraph
Dedication
This is for my son, Jacob
First words
Lightning has struck me all my life.
Quotations
'but dying was no drama. Dying was cold and hard and painful, and dull. It went on too long. I was exhausted and growing bored with it.'
I felt like a stocking turned inside out.
Then I opened my eyes, and it feels like they haven't been shut since.
I feel an echo of the lightning each time I find a fossil, a little jolt that says, "Yes, Mary Anning, you are different from all the rocks on the beach." That is why I am a hunter: to feel that bolt of lightning, and that difference, every day.
Mary Anning leads with her eyes.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
From the moment she is struck by lightening as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is different. Though poor and uneducated, she discovers on the windswept beaches of the English coast that she has a unique gift: "the eye" to spot fossils that no one else can see. When Mary uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to gossip--and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is barred from the academic community; as a young woman with uncommon interests, she is suspected of sinful behavior. Nature is a threat, throwing bitter cold, storms, and landslips at her. And when she falls in love, it is with an impossible man.

Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster recently exiled from London, who shares her passion for scouring the beaches. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.

Remarkable Creatures is a novel of how one woman's gift transcends class and social prejudice to lead to some of the most important discoveries of the nineteenth century. Above all, it is a revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship. [adapted from the jacket]
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When Mary Anning uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home on the English coast, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, and in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.… (more)

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