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Remembering the Bones

Frances Itani, Author
Frances Itani, Author . Atlantic Monthly $24 (320p) ISBN 978-0-87113-977-1
Reviewed on: 09/24/2007
Release date: 00/00/0000
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4434-0252-1
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Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-8021-4400-3
Hardcover - 282 pages - 978-0-00-200540-1
Hardcover - 282 pages - 978-0-340-95399-0
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-00-639262-0
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A macabre setup makes for a surprisingly moving read in Canadian writer Itani's second novel to be published in the U.S. (after Deafening ). Ottawa born and bred octogenarian Georgie Danforth Whitley has always noted similarities—including their birth dates—between herself and Queen Elizabeth, whom she privately imagines as “Lilibet, a kind of parallel life-mate.” A serendipitous invitation to enjoy a birthday lunch with the queen in London gives Georgie a rare opportunity to experience independence from her 103-year-old mother and her 50-something daughter. However, a momentary distraction on the drive to the airport ends with Georgie's car falling to the bottom of a ravine—with no one, except maybe Lilibet, knowing she is missing. Minutes turn into days with a wounded Georgie flashing back to pivotal (and not-so-pivotal) moments in her past as she attempts to crawl to her car. The narrative gathers momentum as Georgie's plight becomes increasingly dire and she searches through her catalogue of memories for a measure of her life's worth. The ending, with its potential for melodrama, is expertly played; throughout, Itani handles her tension-fraught material with a precise, light touch. (Jan.)

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