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Reviews of The Gift

A Novel


NATURE, January 2008: "Billed as a tell-all from the cut-throat world of hominid fossil-hunting, the plot centres around a classic fraud scenario loosely based on that of Piltdown Man. Bert Wilde, a ruthless field researcher, will stop at nothing to get ahead, including murder, rape, a gold-digging marriage and grant bribery. Ron Slater, Wilde's graduate student, seeks revenge on Wilde with a devious plot that plays on the older researcher's egotism and lust for glory.

Author Jon Kalb - a geologist who has led many hominid surveys in Ethiopia - follows the minutiae of field study in the Rio Grande valley. Characters unearth and scan bone fragments, consult academic journals and discuss palaeontological theories as seriously as they might in a departmental seminar. Yet the facts serve the plot, which is tempered by humor, the atmospheric Tex-Mex setting and snappy dialogue."

Première rédaction de cet article le 19 Mars 2009: "Tiens, l'art de la nouvelle n'est pas complètement perdu aux États-Unis ? On peut encore y faire des œuvre de moins de huit cents pages ? C'est ce qu'a fait Jon Kalb, connu pour son livre d'histoire sur les découvertes de fossiles humains en Afrique de l'Est, Adventures in the Bone Trade. Il a également commis un excellent livre de fiction, The Gift, court roman sur le thème des relations très violentes dans le milieu des chercheurs en paléoanthropologie. Très recommandé, passionnante histoire, et très bons personnages."