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A Book of Science and Antiquities

by Thomas Keneally

Shelby Apple, a filmmaker, looks back on his hectic life. He documented wars, lost his best friend & followed a paleontologist on his quest for mankind's source. The story of a 42,000-year-old prehistoric sage Learned Man alternates the story. It took me a while to get used to this because they have such a different voice. What remains is a compelling novel about two men who are both fighting against mortality. But human resilience conquers all.

Extract

The rain ceased, though it seemed the bruised air ached for it to start again. I saw a tousle of clothes beside me nestling the Arriflex and a bag with film containers marked with sticking plaster and pen by Andy. There was a bloody puncture in Andy's khaki at the hump of his shoulder and I asked him if he was all right. But he had left the world of polite inquiry. Late in the day's firing, a splinter of mortar casing had entered his shoulder near his neck. Andy had apparently died softly and without any complaint at this intrusion, and without my noticing. The casing had travelled down the length of his body and exited by his left buttock. That was worse, I saw. The exit wound.

Parallels

 

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