Novels are rarely written in isolation. As a writer, I feel privileged to have been able to tap into a seemingly inexhaustible supply of encouragement, linguistic proficiency and intellectual curiosity. I have to thank all the dear friends, colleagues and newly-found acquaintances who contributed to enrich and polish my writing. Among them: Jane Ball (for her editing), Archie Crail (for his writer’s eye), Sébastien Doubinski (for his timely suggestions), Kathryn Pentecost (the woman in arts Down Under) and – of course – the ladies of the YVR Bookworms Club. In particular, I would like to thank Sabina Nawaz, who made me reflect about the difference between intellectual modesty and humility, and Kelleen Wiseman for her stream of consciousness.

Deserving a special mention are:

Inez Baranay, always there when I needed a writer and mentor’s shoulder

J.M. Coetzee, who kindly checked the expressions in Afrikaans.

Michael Hattaway, who took the time to read the final version of the manuscript, providing most helpful comments and suggestions.

Cecil Hershler, whose storyteller’s sensibility and South African-accented voice added an extra layer of reflection and understanding.

Saskia Waters, who read and further edited an early version of the manuscript with the eyes and heart of a Dutch-born, South African-raised palaeontologist. Like the protagonist of this book, Dr. Waters did field work during South Africa’s apartheid regime; more precisely, she spent ten years at the University of Witwatersrand, of which about six were at the Bernard Price Institute for Paleontological Research.

I warmly thank Sneja Gunew and Joseph Pivato for having introduced me to my publishers at Guernica Editions, Michael Mirolla and Connie McParland, without whom this book would not be now in your hands.

Most of all, though, I thank my husband and life-long companion, Stefano Gulmanelli, who has shared in this book from start to finish. He read my work, discussed ideas, suggested changes, challenged me when needed. No writer should be left without this kind of unwavering and invaluable support.

A final thought and thank you goes to my parents, my sister (with her endearing family) and my aunt, for just being who they are.

Having said that, I take full responsibility for any inaccuracies, mistakes, omissions or controversial views/statements contained in the text.