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Synopsis

LONGLISTED FOR THE WELLCOME TRUST BOOK PRIZE 2012 While carrying out historical research at an Ontario asylum, psychiatrist Harry Karlinsky comes across a familiar surname in the register. Could the “Thomas Darwin of Down, England” be a relative of the famous Charles Darwin? In a narrative woven from letters, photographs, historical documents and illustrations, what emerges is a sketch of Thomas’s life — the last of eleven children born to Charles Darwin. It tells of his obsession with extending his father’s studies into the realm of inanimate objects – kitchen utensils, to be precise. Can the theory of evolution be aplied to knives, forks and spoons? In this stunning factitious biography, Karlinsky presents us with the tragically short life of Thomas Darwin, leaving the reader to decide how much is fact and how much is fiction.

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