THE GREAT STORY OF WHALES by Georges Blond

THE GREAT STORY OF WHALES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A translation from the French by James Cleugh, this brings more to satisfy the appetites recently whetted by Robertson's Of Whales and Men, and through its own imaginative style, it retains much of the dramatic force and fascination of the other book. Blond tells his story of whales and whaling biologically and historically with occasional plaintive notes of resignation to nature's forces. Two blue whales are making their way towards the desolate Argentine coast, as the book opens. As if he were swimming along with them, Blond describes their every movement, their huge bodies, their dives, the surrounding atmosphere of bleak sea and migrant birds, and the dry shoreline as the whales approach it and as the female gives birth to her calf in a small bay. Almost gaily, Blond follows the trio out to sea again where the enormous little calf for a while gains ten pounds an hour on its mother's milk. In this way and personalizing them to some degree, the author follows his trio, shifting intermittently to other kinds of whales and their habits, before he returns to take them finally to a tragic death from an attack of killer whales. Whaling is described in the last half of the book. Old methods are contrasted with new in skillful use of on the scene dialogue that relives life aboard a whaler after cachalots, out from New Bedford in the early 19th century, and then aboard a modern Norwegian ship where killings are made with more mercy and less danger. Promising.

Pub Date: June 6th, 1955
Publisher: Hanover House