Remembering the Bones.


320 pages
ISBN 978-0-00-639262-0
DDC C813'.54




Reviewed by Naomi Brun

Naomi Brun is a freelance writer and a book reviewer for The Hamilton


Frances Itani holds a B.A. in psychology and English and an M.A. in English literature. She has written 11 books, including Deafening, which won the 2003 Drummer General’s Award, the 2004 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, the 20042005 College Book of the Year (Grant McEwan College), and was chosen for CBC’s Canada Reads in 2006. Her latest book, Remembering the Bones, was shortlisted for the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (Canada and Caribbean Region).


Georgie Danforth Witley was born on the same day as Queen Elizabeth II. All her life, she has counted this as a happy coincidence, comparing the dates of their marriages and the births of their children. One day, shortly before her 80th birthday, she discovers that the Queen is holding a party for 99 Commonwealth residents who also happened to be born on April 21, 1926, and Georgie is lucky enough to be included in that number. She is delighted, accepts the invitation, and starts to make the two-hour drive to the airport on the appointed day. Shortly after leaving the house, however, she loses control of the car and is pitched into a ravine. To keep her wits, Georgie tries to recall the bones from the medical textbooks that she perused as a child, and each bone stirs up a series of memories. Just as the bones knit together into a body, her memories knit together to form a family saga.


Remembering the Bones is about strength, family, and survival. Georgie’s voice is captivating as she tells the tales of four generations of resilient women, of their hardships, their triumphs, and their sorrows. The story is enchanting, but lacks perhaps the sense of danger that one might expect from an elderly woman dying on an embankment in a ravine. Still, it is a compelling literary read, and the saga of the Danforth women will touch even the most stone-hearted of readers.


Itani, Frances., “Remembering the Bones.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024,