Remarkable Creatures [Las huellas de la vida]

Tracy Chevalier | Remarkable Creatures

In 1810, a sister and brother uncover the fossilized skull of an unknown animal in the cliffs on the south coast of England. With its long snout and prominent teeth, it might be a crocodile – except that it has a huge, bulbous eye.

Remarkable Creatures is the story of Mary Anning, who has a talent for finding fossils, and whose discovery of ancient marine reptiles such as that ichthyosaur shakes the scientific community and leads to new ways of thinking about the creation of the world.

Working in an arena dominated by middle-class men, however, Mary finds herself out of step with her working-class background. In danger of being an outcast in her community, she takes solace in an unlikely friendship with Elizabeth Philpot, a prickly London spinster with her own passion for fossils.

The strong bond between Mary and Elizabeth sees them through struggles with poverty, rivalry and ostracism, as well as the physical dangers of their chosen obsession. It reminds us that friendship can outlast storms and landslides, anger and and jealousy.

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Las huellas de la vida

La historia de amistad entre dos mujeres que, con su talento como buscadoras de fósiles, precedieron a Charles Darwin en uno de los descubrimientos científicos más apasionantes del siglo XIX.

Tracy Chevalier vuelve sobre algunos motivos frecuentes en sus obras: las desigualdades sociales, el cruce entre clases, la amistad y el talento innato. Valiéndose del uso de la primera persona, la autora recrea no solo las vidas, sino también las voces de Mary Anning y Elizabeth Philpot, dos figuras históricas, y logra un buen contrapunto entre dos personajes llenos de contrastes —una ilustrada, la otra casi analfabeta— pero unidas por su talante de mujeres singulares en el seno de una sociedad de miras estrechas.

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