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A Bone From a Dry Sea (1992)

af Peter Dickinson

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281670,187 (3.8)6
In two parallel stories, an intelligent female member of a prehistoric tribe becomes instrumental in advancing the lot of her people, and the daughter of a paleontologist is visiting him on a dig in Africa when important fossil remains are discovered.
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Neat book! Two time periods described alternately - a modern girl visits an archaeological (paleontological, actually) dig with her scientist father, and a hominid girl several million years ago lives what they're digging up. The themes and situations they meet are surprisingly similar - an overbearing wanna-be authority wants to take over each girl, and an outside force (of very different types) allows them, and their families, to escape. Dickinson is also writing as if the theory (considered marginal, at best) that we evolved at least partly in the sea were completely accurate - though he does say, in an afterword, that "of course" what he writes about isn't fact, he made it all up and there is no way of knowing what really happened back then. I like both Li and Vinny. Vinny's interactions with her father, and (reported) with her mother, are interesting - she's had to figure out about her parents more than most children do, to understand what drives them. I found the archaeology as interesting as the adventures in both times. And of course it has Dickinson's usual rich characters. Well worth reading, and probably rereading. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Feb 20, 2019 |
It's actually unfortunate that some teachers have assigned this, because it really is not the kind of book that appeals to people who don't like to read anything outside their comfort zone.

Sometimes some of the characters' behaviors are bit implausible - for example Vinny is awfully sensitive to her parents' perspectives, and also she's amazingly able to articulate, to her father, why her mother is a good person but not a good wife to him.

Other than that - marvelous. It is absolutely fascinating to imagine what the certain particular stage of human evolution that was explored here might have been like - especially for one thoughtful girl-child living through it. The child and the people of her tribe and community are beguiling.

The modern part of the story was interesting, too. It's nice to think of science as a noble pursuit, but issues of egos and of funding are all too influential, as this book makes more clear than I'd ever fully realized before.

Smart, gracefully written, thoughtful - and for the right readers, engaging. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Vinny, a modern girl is reunited with her father on a fossil dig in Africa. She is exploring the fossil remains of another girl--and the other narrator of the story--who lived millions of years ago. Follow Li, a hominid who lived when the flat plain was a sea, and Vinny, who is finding herself as she discovers fossils of a distant age. ( )
  rebecca401 | Jun 24, 2011 |
Recommended by Lynne - A really good read. ( )
  Evynrude | Aug 22, 2009 |
Loved this little gem of a book. ( )
  mjfmjfmjf | Jun 14, 2009 |
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In two parallel stories, an intelligent female member of a prehistoric tribe becomes instrumental in advancing the lot of her people, and the daughter of a paleontologist is visiting him on a dig in Africa when important fossil remains are discovered.

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