The White Bone

  • Title: The White Bone
  • Author: Barbara Gowdy
  • ISBN: 9780006481218
  • Page: 322
  • Format: Paperback
  • The White Bone A thrilling journey into the minds of African elephants as they struggle to survive If as many recent nonfiction bestsellers have revealed animals possess emotions and awareness they must also have
    A thrilling journey into the minds of African elephants as they struggle to survive.If, as many recent nonfiction bestsellers have revealed, animals possess emotions and awareness, they must also have stories In The White Bone, a novel imagined entirely from the perspective of African elephants, Barbara Gowdy creates a world whole and separate that yet illuminates our oA thrilling journey into the minds of African elephants as they struggle to survive.If, as many recent nonfiction bestsellers have revealed, animals possess emotions and awareness, they must also have stories In The White Bone, a novel imagined entirely from the perspective of African elephants, Barbara Gowdy creates a world whole and separate that yet illuminates our own.For years, young Mud and her family have roamed the high grasses, swamps, and deserts of the sub Sahara Now the earth is scorched by drought, and the mutilated bodies of family and friends lie scattered on the ground, shot down by ivory hunters Nothing not the once familiar terrain, or the age old rhythms of life, or even memory itself seems reliable any Yet a slim prophecy of hope is passed on from water hole to water hole the sacred white bone of legend will point the elephants toward the Safe Place And so begins a quest through Africa s vast and perilous plains until at last the survivors face a decisive trial of loyalty and courage.In The White Bone, Barbara Gowdy performs a feat of imagination virtually unparalleled in modern fiction Plunged into an alien landscape, we orient ourselves in elephant time, elephant space, elephant consciousness and begin to feel, as Gowdy puts it, what it would be like to be that big and gentle, to be that imperiled, and to have that prodigious memory.

    • The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy
      322 Barbara Gowdy
    • thumbnail Title: The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy
      Posted by:Barbara Gowdy
      Published :2019-09-19T05:56:56+00:00

    About Barbara Gowdy


    1. Barbara Gowdy is the author of seven books, including Helpless, The Romantic, The White Bone, Mister Sandman, We So Seldom Look on Love and Falling Angels, all of which have met with widespread international acclaim A three time finalist for The Governor General s Award, two time finalist for The Scotia Bank Giller Prize, The Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize and The Commonwealth Writers Prize, winner of the Marian Engel Award and The Trillium Book Prize, Gowdy has been longlisted for The Man Booker Prize She has been called a miraculous writer by the Chicago Tribune, and in 2005 Harper s magazine described her as a terrific literary realist who has refused to subscribe to worn out techniques and storytelling methods Born in Windsor, Ontario, she lives in Toronto.


    614 Comments


    1. 1 out of 5 stars to Barbara Gowdy's novel, The White Bone, a story about a family of elephants wandering around the safari. Yes, that's right, I've given out a 1 star rating of ~500 books I've read, only (5) five have gotten this poor of a rating, and this unfortunately, is one of them. I usually try to find something redeemable, but this one will be tough. And I mean no harm to the author, as her writing style was fine it just was such a poor read.I suspect this was a brilliant idea gone far of [...]

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    2. Warning: character deaths. These elephants live in a war zone - they are refugees. Massacre is the commonest death. I’ve never read a novel that so constructs animal minds the way a science fiction writer constructs alien minds. This is a serious attempt to be inside the head of an elephant. To briefly outline what her elephants are like: they are big balls of emotion, intensely superstitious. Not too idealised – half of them are more silly than wise perhaps. (But on idealisation, every spec [...]

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    3. It took a while for this chisel of a book to crack the nut of my head. I had to start it three times because the perspective was so strange, and grim. But on the third try I was enthralled. This book put me inside a different way of thinking. I treasured returning to this book and comprehending the revelations on nearly every page -- of the fact that there was a different way of observing things. So often I enjoy books that are brilliant executions of standard plots or formulas, like God Bless Y [...]

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    4. This is an absolutely fantastic novel. The fact that the author managed to even *attempt* to get into the mind of an African elephant is astonishing. The work itself, however, an epic world of myth, belief, hope, and sacrifice, is what makes it more stunning. And beyond comprehension. In the top five books I've ever read.

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    5. I read this book when it first came out back in 1998. At that point, I was still in middle school and had seen it featured at our library. Through the years I have often thought back on that book and while I couldn't remember precisely what it was about, I knew it involved elephants and for some reason had captivated me. Not too long ago I remembered the title and knew I had to read it again. After reading again, I can see why I was intrigued by the book, but didn't think it was anything complet [...]

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    6. One of my favorite books ever. This is one of the few books I've read that never quite made it into popularity, or onto any bestseller lists, but was still a great read. It follows the story of a certain group of elephants in Africa and their way of life and their hardships, of which there are plenty of. The entire book is overall very somber, with moments of being heartbreaking. The ending is almost reminiscent of the ending of "The Handmaid's Tale", at least in my opinion. I truly wish this bo [...]

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    7. Amazing book. An adventure, drama, heartbreak, hope, the struggle of the spirit to survive and thrive all told from the perspective of elephants. Don't be put off by that if you are not an animal lover or have a particular affinity for elephants, like I do. They are incredibly amazing, complex, extremely intelligent creatures, but this book is so beautifully written with such a compelling story that anyone who appreciates good literary ficton will enjoy this a great deal.

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    8. A fantasy about elephant families where some of them can read minds and some can talk to other animals. It sounds too sci-fi until you start reading it and it just seems like you are meeting some interesting people who happen to be elephants. The author does a great job of including realities like dung-eating and poaching (warning: this book will make you sad).

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    9. I found myself thinking about this book when I wasn't reading it. Definitely not a light book - but very interesting. Written from the perspective of several different elephants. Author does an excellent job of creating a culture and language that is both believable and easy to follow. Very moving content.

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    10. I enjoyed reading this book especially through the perspective of elephants something different and quite good.

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    11. Not an easy, or a fun, but a deep, important, thought-provoking read. Gowdy attempted the impossible feat of getting into the head of another creature--an elephant. This already is a huge stretch and its incredibly difficult to do it well, and to do it in a way that the reader feels comfortable taking the narrator seriously. Gowdy worked extremely hard to get out of her own head and into another being's umwelt. She did an almost miraculous job. She obviously did a formidable amount of research o [...]

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    12. I was so disappointed in what I thought would be a great book and clearly I am not in the mainstream with my opinion of this book that so many are giving 5 stars to. The story was quite boring and even in this short book, took too long to tell. Elephants being slaughtered by humans are looking for their promised land. That's it. The song-singing and mythology did not work in this short, linear plot line. Songs, maps, glossaries and family trees should be reserved for epic books and this was not [...]

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    13. They do a lot of walking - lumbering up sandy hills, through tall grasses & fresh growth, past trampled thickets, over fallen trees, down steep inclines, into thick sage brush, through drifts of red dust, splashing through warm shallows, trudging over river banks I could go on & on. Then there were the She's - She Snorts, She Screams, She Scavenges, She Distracts, She Sees, She Scares, She Drawls and Drawls She S's, She D's, She M's, She B's - heck even She DD's or was it She BB's? It al [...]

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    14. This is a hard book to review. On the one hand, I consider it a thoughtful, well-researched, and rigorous attempt at getting into elephant minds. Solid world-building scheme, too. So as spec/animal-fic I respect this novel a lot. But for whatever reason it didn't work for me. I'm tempted to say it's because I just found the narrative arc, dialogue, and naming system tedious, but these are also the elements that give the novel its legitimacy as a genuine attempt to empathize with being-elephant. [...]

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    15. Gowdy did a good job imagining the world from an elephant's perspective (I think!) as she created a culture, language and landscape that fit well with her story. For me however, the book was quite depressing even though there is always a shred of hope and long memory to guide the elephants over the landscape. The setting is a time of severe drought and human poaching which seems endless and that is the part that I found quite depressing. Some folks found the book to end on a positive and hopeful [...]

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    16. I just finished a second read of the book (first one in 2003). Reading the book 13 years later, as elephant populations continue to dwindle due to poaching, I found it even more discouraging than I did the first time. It is a unique book - written from the perspective of elephants - and it may not be for everyone. I am a natural history fan and an unmitigated species geek, so appreciated the level of detail and accuracy in terms of elephant life history and behaviour. The author has obviously ta [...]

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    17. "En el mundo se viven ahora unos tiempos en los que hay que confiar en los embusteros y poner en duda a los honestos." mdmemories/2014/0Si después de leer esa sinopsis no te has dado cuenta de que este libro no es como los demás, espero que con esta reseña no te quede la duda. Definitivamente El Hueso Blanco es una historia particular y ambiciosa, está contada por elefantes, con su conciencia y forma de ver el mundo. Va más allá de cualquier otra historia donde sus protagonistas sean anima [...]

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    18. A beautiful, haunting, complex, and devastating novel. I admit that it took me about 20 pages to truly get into this book, because so much information about the way the elephants think and the terms they use needed to be digested. The shifting third person narrative perspective (Mud- an orphaned elephant with a lame leg living with her adopted herd, Date Bed- a clever calf who is in many ways Mud's best friend, and Tall Time- a bull who is revered for his knowledge of nature's signals and omens) [...]

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    19. This is a stunning creation. The images and personalities of the elephants linger, along with deep sadness for the fate of Africa's elephants. You can smell this book-- much of the imagery is created with descriptions of the odorous world of the elephant. Thank you to Jessy Randall for reminding me of this book. The day after I finished it, there was news of a survey that reported the scope of the murder of forest dwelling elephants in Africa in the last ten years--something like 60% . A comment [...]

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    20. wonderful tale of hope and mystery written from the perspective of the elephant clane "characters" are well developed, and complex, just like communities found in the human world.I especially loved the family tree graphic found in the front of the book that allows you to keep all the members straight as the book progresses over several generations.every time I see an elephant now, I reflect back to this book and wonder what is going on inside their ancient mind

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    21. I wonder if anyone else would love this book besides me. I'll admit it's a little strange at times. All the characters are elephants, and we learn all about their hopes, dreams, fears, mistakes, pain, etc. as they search for the elusive white bone. I can't really remember right now what that was for; I know it meant life to them, though. I just think the elephant society, in reality, is pretty cool. Matriarchal, and really moving in the way they relate to one another.

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    22. So far, I love this book. I loved it from page one. I have always been very keen on books that are written from an animal's perspective (I think Watership Down made a huge impression on me at a young age, not to mention Fantastic Mr. Fox :o). Elephants have always struck me as very mysterious and majestic creatures. So This was bound to be a favourite with me. I'll keep reading it, and let you know what I think when I'm done.

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    23. Written from the point of view of the elephants, this book was like nothing I had read before. It is a novel, but the author's knowledge of the subject matter is obvious. I experienced every emotion under the rainbow while reading it -- I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone looking for something a little different, but GOOD.

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    24. Unlike any other book I've read. Haunting, moving, surreal and incredibly imaginative. Give this book a chance - it takes some time to get into. At first I found the elephant 'lingo' to be irritating, but once I got past that I was completely absorbed. The characters are complex and convincing and their struggle for survival is heartbreaking.

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    25. A fascinating, tragic book, written in a most unusual voice that of the elephants. Not an easy book to read, due to the heartbreaking and sadly realistic plot, but very captivating and informative. Like any good novel with complex family connections, the author provides a herd genealogy which provides a great reference.

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    26. This book was AMAZING! Not only did Gowdy give voices to the elefants she perfectly demonstrated the actions of the elephant species-from birth to mating to what happens when an elephant dies. The names the elephants had were very obvious but original, like the main character's name was She-Spurns becauseyou knowe spurns. It's a really good book!

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    27. This book destroyed me. It was so beautifully written; it left me beaten down and broken by the end. Elephants are my second favorite animal (after dogs) and they need to be saved. To that end, everyone should read The White Bone.

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    28. I know this book is nuts. It's told from the point of view of elephants, for god sake. But it's magical and heartbreaking. And it changed the way I think about animals in the world.

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    29. I really enjoyed this book in many ways, because it was beautiful and I felt so entranced and riveted by it. However, it was so sad. And it was also frustrating because I felt like many characters you come to know just die and there's no meaning to it. But perhaps that is the meaning, as there is no meaning to the slaughter we humans enact upon the poor animals, especially the elephants. The whole journey is not satisfying, in fact, things just get worse and worse and never get better, the end. [...]

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    30. Like Watership Down, but for elephants. Amazing world building, with some light fantastical elements that don't feel out of place.This one is probably even less anthropomorphic, though, and more realistic to how elephants actually think and live. And boy, does it really go into the biologyere is definitely mention of tasting urine and dangling penises.This is more like a 4.5 stars, which I'd give if allowed!

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