Friday, July 5, 2019

Book Review: The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy - Fiction

Barbara Gowdy in her novel, The White Bone, takes the reader into the mind of the elephant. She imagines the emotions, thoughts and actions of the elephants in their daily routines of surviving in the wilderness of the sub-Sahara. 

The vibrant characters of the elephants in the herd are humanized in a manner that seems different and yet realistically portrays the lifestyle of the elephants. The nuances of each elephant are captured in their interactions that brings out the sense of humour as well as the likes and dislikes of each other that includes name-calling.

It is a matriarchal herd that stays close to each other as they move in the environs. They are in search of a safe place to stay as they pursue their quest to find that White Bone. The stunning descriptions of their movement through draught conditions highlight the endurance of the elephant. They pass by mutilated bodies of elephants killed by poachers or they pass by their relatives who appeared to have died of natural causes from dehydration. In this journey they sometimes lose track of one of their herd; they gather together and determine what could have happened to the lost one. But they move on. They fend off predators as they stop to have a drink and bathe in the rare find of water pools.

The White Bone is a remarkable representation of the elephant that illustrates the imagined mind of this majestic animal on her home turf. It brings a new sense of awareness of the wild life who live in their surroundings as we do in our surroundings. Brilliantly written!

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