Reconstruction Hardcover – Feb 6 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
In her richly suggestive and assured debut novel, Canadian writer Casper takes on the daunting task of depicting emotional loss, historicity and anatomical restoration-and she acquits herself with distinction. Sculptor Margaret Fisher slips into a protective cocoon of listless sleep and lurid dreams when her marriage of 10 years breaks up. The dangerous depth of her loss, she realizes, arises less from the departure of her husband than from the disturbing realization that the union had been loveless and shored up only by comfort and inertia. Financially and emotionally shaken (and plagued by extensive emergency dental work), Margaret plunges into a new project for a display of primitive humanity at the National Museum: the full-body reconstruction of an Australopithecus afarensis, based on the famous fossil "Lucy." She draws her inspiration from the fossilized footprints of male and female hominids that were embedded in volcanic ash over three million years ago in Africa. A slight twist in the female's gait suggests that she hesitated in order to look over her shoulder-at what we will never be sure-before being crushed by the volcanic eruption. In a dreamlike, intense state of waking dreams and reveries, isolation and reflection, Margaret begins to feel the stirrings of Lucy's primordial steps within herself. Her slow reconstruction of the model brings unexpected questions and truths to light. Casper avoids easy answers and writes bravely about our need to place ourselves in history in order to make sense of our existence.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Margaret is depressed: her husband has just left her; her teeth are decaying; and she can't meet the deadline on her latest sculpture commission. But a new assignment from a natural history museum to reconstruct the body of Lucy?the famous female fossil of the species Australopithecus afarensis?helps Margaret cope. During the months it takes to create the figure of Lucy, Margaret is intensely introspective, spending her time in her studio or in her garden while her life goes by in flashbacks. As she identifies with the simple life Lucy must have led, Margaret gradually begins to enjoy herself and overcome her loneliness. By using the detailed reconstruction of Lucy as a metaphor for the re-creation of Margaret's life, Canadian author Casper puts an unusual twist on a familiar story. Her accomplished first novel is recommended for public libraries.?Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The real focus of this book is on damaged psyches - the main character, Margaret comes from a situation where her husband, a wealthy and respected man, has single-handedly destroyed her sense of self-worth. Now, in financial ruin, she finds that her teeth are showing the decay she feels inside: they're rotting, though no fault of her own, just lousy genetics. From there we walk with Margaret, through the metaphor of the reconstruction of a prehistoric woman who, from footprints left in fossils, walked beside a man, then hesitated for a moment before continuing. This moment sparks something in her, and slowly, as Margaret adds to the fossilized bones, building muscle and tissue and reconstructing the woman, she reconstructs her own life, and her own self.
It is hard to believe that this is Casper's first work; I adored it. This is a fine Canadian talent, and I do suggest you pick it up, especially if you're feeling a little defeated, and would like a realistic tale of "reconstruction."