Dry Bones

Hope Norman Coulter, Author August House Publishers $17.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-87483-152-8
Coulter follows her award-winning first novel ( The Errand of the Eye ) with the story of a fossil discovery, set against the backdrop of the 1981 Creation Science trial in Little Rock, Ark. Jonas Torbett finds a unique bone embedded in shale on family property which his father has long been ``excavating'' in search of Indian artifacts to sell. The fossil intrigues James Donovan, a state geologist, who puzzles over its identity and dating; it is ``scientific'' proof to a host of creationists of their theory of man's origin. To teacher Stuart Bledsoe, the bone is a relic of his Caddo Indian ancestors. Eagerly following the story is college student Traci Morgan, spending her summer as a reporter for the local paper. As the debate rages over whether the bone is human or dinosaur, Coulter uses it as an interesting symbol to focus the attention of her characters on the question of their own identities and relationships. Donovan, Traci and Stuart grapple with adult issues, while Jonas views events from the perspective of his 10 years. Coulter is generous in her treatment of the views of creationists, suggesting that her characters' insights are more significant than any decision on the bone's origins. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
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