Saturday, June 05, 2010

The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy

The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy

Mud is an orphaned elephant who is separated from her family and is adopted by the She-S herd. As Mud is coming into her adulthood, the elephant domain is going through one of the worst droughts in history. As the elephants meet at a watering hole, many are killed by ivory poachers. The elephants that do escape alive are separated. Mud is stuck with a small group from her adoptive family as they try to find other family members and search for the white bone, which has the power to tell all elephants where to find the second safe place, where there is water and lush vegetation where elephants will be safe.

This book is very unique in that it's told from the elephant's perspective. They can communicate as humans do through their own language but they have other means of communicating as well. They can send out infrasonic waves and each family has a mind reader. The mind reader of the family can communicate to other species, which is useful when trying to find water during a drought.

I've never read a book where the main characters are elephants. Despite being so different, the human emotions of each elephant draws the reader in quickly. I enjoyed how the elephants were named according to their family name and their prominent character traits. Each elephant lived up to their name! I was quite surprised to find that the author is a Canadian author living in Toronto! I wonder how much research she had to do about elephants before writing this book.

First Line: "All day there are glaring omens that go undetected."


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