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Remarkable Creatures (2009)

by Tracy Chevalier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,8602103,646 (3.86)423
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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» See also 423 mentions

English (198)  French (5)  Spanish (4)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (210)
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
adult fiction. Seems ok, I just have too many audio to listen to right now, and this is among the least exciting. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
A nice story with thread of feminism throughout. I thought the prose was simple, leaving me wanting a more literary reading experience. I think this is more of a YA read. ( )
  hemlokgang | Feb 20, 2021 |
Great descriptions of the way women used to be treated: not being able to go places by themselves, ownership belongs to the man. Admired the way Elizabeth helped Mary with what became a career. Felt sorry for both of them having to remain as spinsters. Liked the discussion thoughts about God and religion relating to finding prehistoric relics. ( )
  kshydog | Dec 13, 2020 |
[I wrote this review in 2009]

** A wonderful story, bringing Mary Anning and fossil hunting vividly to life**

A brilliant read. Tracy Chevalier has yet again come up with a brilliant (and original) idea for a book. The story of Mary Anning, fossil hunter of Lyme Regis in the early years of the nineteenth century, makes for a really good novel. Superbly researched, well-written, and with enough fictional embellishments to make a good plot as well, I highly recommend this for anyone who already likes Chevalier's novels, all fans of well-researched historical fiction, and for anyone with an interest in fossils and fossil-hunting as well. A resounding 5* from me. ( )
  ArdizzoneFan | Nov 12, 2020 |
I was so excited to read another Tracy Chevalier book and was definitely not disappointed. I love the way she explores and expands characters and lays that over the discoveries they make. In this book in particular, you are subtly reminded that the discoveries of these characters were extremely groundbreaking for the time and have shaped the understanding of the world we have today. As the other Chevalier books I've written focus mainly on pieces of art, this was a very enjoyable break from formula. The characters are lovable, yet they make mistakes and you can understand them. Even though Mary and Elizabeth are groundbreaking women, they are still social outcasts. The different ways they navigate that are interesting to follow. I love the historical stories that Chevalier explores and her writing, and this story was no different. ( )
  hopebarton2014 | Jun 15, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 198 (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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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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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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Book description
From the moment she is struck by lightning 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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