Kirkus Star


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The imaginative, individualizing approach of Georges Blond to the creature kingdom, most recently applied in The Great Story of Whales (1955), is again at work here. While his accounts contain scientific reflection on the causes of migration, probing beneath the evasive term, instinct, they are essentially dramatic reconstructions of the great event. The drama of personalized birds, salmon, lemmings serves to evoke interest in the whole process, to give meaning to the scenery. The life story of a graylag goose and his mate, with whom he chooses to die on a stormy Himalayan slope where she has been injured in the long journey from Siberia to the Ganges Delta, points up the grandeur of the migratory accomplishment which requires flight at 26,000 feet over the great range. We swim along with Salar the salmon, and take up with a lemming who gets the urge to rid himself of the company of his own kind, unknowingly and involuntarily beginning his suicidal exodus. There is a more removed view of the buffalo, their relentless pursuit by wolf and man, and their eminence in the fight between the whites, who required their extermination for trade, and the Indians, who required their existence for survival; of the search for the spawning grounds of the eel, from which the adults never return after passing life on to another generation; of the locusts which invaded Morocco in 1954. This reminds one of William Byron Mowery in its intimacy and empathy.

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 1956
Publisher: Macmillan