The Dolphin Papers
by Helen Bonner
Bonner Books

"As a child, he had read stories of mermaids, sea nymphs, dangerous creatures whose songs lured men to their ruin on the reefs."

The story begins with Al Waller, a lonely scientist desperately trying to figure out how to save the life of his one remaining dolphin, a male still grieving for his lost mate. Preferring his 'fish' to humans, Waller does everything he can to keep other humans away from his research lab. However, he cannot ignore the weakening cries for help coming from outside on a rainy night, signaling the beginning of his greatest and last experiment, nor is he equal to the determination of the young immigrant woman, Dolores, who comes to cook and clean for him soon after. Add one aristocratic handyman living in San Diego as an illegal worker and the cast, not forgetting Waller's experiment, is complete.

Bonner's story adopts the questioning of science taken up most famously by Mary Shelley, but extends it a bit to include consideration of metaphysical one-mind worldviews. Related to the characters, Bonner looks at the ways in which this one-mind concept breaks down through the use, misuse or refusal to use language or other communicative devices among and between preconceived groups or boundaries. Providing a great deal to reflect upon, Bonner delivers an entertaining story with multiple topics for consideration, assisted by a list of possible discussion questions at the end.

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