Remembering the Bones
Georgina Danforth Witley is late for her date with the queen. She was invited to Buckingham Palace for an 80th birthday lunch, as one of 99 Commonwealth guests sharing Queen Elizabeths birthday. But while driving to the airport, Georgina crashes through a guardrail and is thrown clear from the car into a ravine. No one knows shes missing, except maybe the queen, whom she calls Lilibet, a kind of parallel life-mate.
For the rest of the story Georgina inches back towards the wreck, sucking on the buttons of her cardigan to ward off thirst and keeping alert by recalling names of bones---many of her own broken or shattered---from her doctor-grandfathers Grays Anatomy. She also sifts through the small details of her life as a daughter, sister, mom and wife.
These connected memories become her prayer beads, a distraction from pain and panic. Like Carol Bruneau (both Bruneau and Itani are reading at the Halifax International Writers Festival), Itani is a master at drawing out private details from a womans life without sentimentality: Her Polio Honeymoon is absolutely heartbreaking. Readers looking for extraordinary drama might be disappointed, but as Itani suggests, every subject in Lilibets kingdom has a story.
Sue Carter Flinn