Remembering the Bones
Frances Itani
(HarperCollins)
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 Elizabeth’s 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 she’s 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-grandfather’s Gray’s 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 woman’s life without sentimentality: Her “Polio Honeymoon” is absolutely heartbreaking. Readers looking for extraordinary drama might be disappointed, but as Itani suggests, every subject in Lilibet’s kingdom has a story.
Sue Carter Flinn
type: book

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