THE STRANGE STORY OF THE GREAT WHALE, ALSO KNOWN AS BIG MAC by Erih; Lovett F. Edwards Kos

THE STRANGE STORY OF THE GREAT WHALE, ALSO KNOWN AS BIG MAC

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Whales almost never visit the Adriatic. In 1953 an eighty-foot specimen was captured and exhibited in several Yugoslavian cities to fascinate hundreds of thousands. Erih Kos, born in Yugoslavian in 1913, reviewer, critic, and novelist, who now holds an important post in the Yugoslav Ministry of Culture and Education, has written a political allegory based upon that event. His whale symbolizes the Soviet Union, of course, and excites the populace just as much. His alter ego quotes from the Revelation of St. John (""And I stood upon the sand of the sea and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads....and upon his heads the name of blasphemy"") and from a modern poem: ""....the great whale known as Mac....statuesque but filled with ire....beating headlong upon the walled-up threat of loyalty"". He becomes obsessed by hatred for the monster, by the way it has mesmerized the press and citizenry, by the social prestige attached merely to visiting the exhibit. Hostile, defensive, frightened, he finally sees and touches the colossus just as putrefaction causes its collapse. Stench and disease spread throughout Belgrade. Havoc and despair are suddenly halted when, overnight, street cleaners get rid of the carcass, and gradually the country returns to normal. Whale-odor lingers in the memories of some, but not even the backbone has been saved for the state museum to prove the occurrence. ""There is always a new whale"", however, always some new propaganda to resist. A paranoid and subtle reverie, which some will consider brilliant, and others just another fish story.

Pub Date: Aug. 22nd, 1962
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World