Longlisted for the 2010 Scotia Bank Giller Prize
Nominated for the International IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award
Shortlisted for the McNally Robinson Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction
A Quill and Quire Book of the Year 2010.
A Book of the Month, Amazon.ca
In 1812, a 12 year-old girl dug the skeleton of what she thought was a dragon out of the cliff on an English beach. Mary Anning was poor and barely literate. Her astonishing find–– a thirty-foot Ichthyosaur from the Jurassic Period—turned the science of the day upside down and set the course of Mary’s life.
Set in Lyme Regis, Dorset, 40 years before Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Curiosity tells the story of “the fossil girl” and her relationship with the gentry who stream to Lyme Regis in the wake of her fossil find. It’s a foray into an alien culture for Mary, who has only her own steady sense of self to guide her.
Henry de la Beche is the heir to a sugar plantation and has been shaped in unexpected ways by his childhood in Jamaica. In Lyme Regis he meets the solitary, determined, forthright Mary, and finds something his own experience has denied him. In the years when no one in England is talking about evolution, Mary Anning and Henry De la Beche find social convention, science, and religion inadequate to their experience and grope their way towards a private understanding.
Curiosity was published by McClelland and Stewart.
“Curiosity is a delight. Set with marvels and rueful comedy, it’s a warmly intelligent feat of historical sympathy.” Greg Hollingshead
“. . . the human mind and heart excavated with delicate and devastating skill.” Marina Endicott
“a beautiful, erudite, and deeply pleasurable work.” The Walrus
“a big, juicy read.” Elle Canada.
“a brilliant, soulful, multilayered novel. Reading Curiosity is like riding a time-machine back to the early 19th century.” The Ottawa Citizen.
“rich and involved, in keeping with the traditions of the great English novelists—Fielding and Austen come to mind . . . gorgeous writing.” Prairie Fire Review of Books