Remarkable Creatures

Tracy Chevalier

Remarkable Creatures

From the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear Mary Anning is marked for greatness. When she uncovers unknown dinosaur fossils in the cliffs near her home, she sets the scientific world alight, challenging ideas about the world's creation and stimulating debate over our origins. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is soon reduced to a serving role, facing prejudice from the academic community, vicious gossip from neighbours, and the heartbreak of forbidden love. Even nature is a threat, throwing bitter cold, storms, and landslips at her. Luckily Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly, intelligent Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster who is also fossil-obsessed. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty and barely suppressed envy. Despite their differences in age and background, Mary and Elizabeth discover that, in struggling for recognition, friendship is their strongest weapon. 4.1 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Remarkable Creatures

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Historical Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages
RRP £15.99
Date of Publication August 2009
ISBN 978-0007178377
Publisher HarperCollins
 

From the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear Mary Anning is marked for greatness. When she uncovers unknown dinosaur fossils in the cliffs near her home, she sets the scientific world alight, challenging ideas about the world's creation and stimulating debate over our origins. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is soon reduced to a serving role, facing prejudice from the academic community, vicious gossip from neighbours, and the heartbreak of forbidden love. Even nature is a threat, throwing bitter cold, storms, and landslips at her. Luckily Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly, intelligent Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster who is also fossil-obsessed. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty and barely suppressed envy. Despite their differences in age and background, Mary and Elizabeth discover that, in struggling for recognition, friendship is their strongest weapon.

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Geoffrey Carr

[Reviewed with ‘The Fossil Hunter’ by Shelley Emling] Of the two books Remarkable Creatures is by far the better read... It is not and does not aim to be a “life” of its subject but it conveys a plausible sense both of Anning the person and of the temper of the times.

28/08/2009

Read Full Review


The Financial Times

Monique Roffey

Though the narrative is prone to large chunks of exposition, Remarkable Creatures is a largely enjoyable book, despite being, at times, unashamedly romantic... Chevalier excavates her two main characters with great confidence and wit. These women, neither of whom I had heard of before, become vivid and engrossing.

31/08/2009

Read Full Review


The Guardian

Ruth Padel

It is a stunning story, compassionately reimagined... The ways in which Mary and Elizabeth regard each other over the years allows the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring to do what she excels at: reveal slowly, in meticulous period detail, not one but two women being looked at.

29/08/2009

Read Full Review


The Daily Telegraph

Gabriel Weston

Her descriptions of Lyme Regis and its coastline are alive with physical detail... Reading this book, I felt I was alongside Mary and Elizabeth on their fossilling missions, doing something not just brainy, but dirty and dangerous, too... On the down side, Chevalier’s tone occasionally teeters into sentimentality... [A] very entertaining book

24/08/2009

Read Full Review


The Sunday Times

Nick Rennison

Thoroughly absorbing... Remarkable Creatures is not without its faults. Some of the secondary characters possess little vitality and seem to exist on the page solely in order to embody certain ideas of the time that Chevalier wants to bring to our attention... However, Chevalier has taken the true histories of Anning and Philpot and fashioned from them a moving story of the resilience of an unusual female friendship and of ground shifting beneath people’s feet as new discoveries force them to look at the world with fresh eyes.

13/09/2009

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore