While carrying out historical research at Ontario’s London Asylum, psychiatrist Harry Karlinsky comes across a familiar surname in the register: one “Thomas Darwin of Down, England.” Could this Thomas be a relation of the eminent scientist Charles Darwin? In a narrative woven from letters, memoir abstracts, photographs, and illustrations, what emerges is a sketch of Thomas’s life — the last of eleven children born to Charles Darwin.In this stunning factitious biography, Karlinsky gives us a subtle parody and a Nabokovian tale of Darwinian theory gone wrong. Through the sometimes doctored, sometimes invented writings, we see the tragically short life of Thomas Darwin, a young scientist in his own right, whose novel application of evolutionary theory centres on knives and forks and spoons. Although decisively a work of fiction, The Evolution of Inanimate Objects invites sustained uncertainty as to whether Thomas Darwin is a character of pure invention or simply a heretofore little-known figure.
--- from the publisher
About the Author:
Harry Karlinsky is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. He is the director fo the award-winning Frames of Mind Mental Health Film Series. He writes a film column for Canadian Psychiatry Aujourd'hui. His work on The Evolution of Inanimate Objects was supported in part by a Hewton Bursary Award. This is his first novel.