THE LAST WHALES by Lloyd Abbey


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A gloomy underwater love story featuring two star-crossed blue whales who endure pollution, the greenhouse effect, and finally nuclear winter--all as they attempt to restructure their mating habits in order to prolong the life of their species. A lonely blue whale roams the overharvested North Atlantic, calling to his mate and calf--who have no doubt been murdered in one of the mass slaughters that have already nearly wiped out the species. At the same time, a young, virginal female lingers just south of the equator, desperately hoping for a partner. Despite the fact that the bull and the cow belong to different hemispheres and would normally never cross the line that separates them, fate brings the two together and they manages to mate, mingle, and spend an extraordinary number of pages drifting aimlessly between the magnetic poles--until at last the bull returns north to search for others of his kind while the female remains in the Antarctic with her baby. Then catastrophe hits--in the form of a nuclear exchange. By the time the lovers reunite, the male has gone blind from gazing at an ozone-stripped sky. He dies soon thereafter. His son eventually mates with a pygmy blue, but their offspring are all stillborn, severely mutated or easily devoured by post-nuclear tribes of killer whales. Meanwhile, there's precious little to keep the reader involved in the dead silence of this nearly empty world. Even the most catastrophic events lose their impact when filtered through hundreds of feet of ocean water, and Abbey is reduced to forcing his whales to ponder the meaning of life, dream wistfully of better days, and envy various other happy sea creatures. A fumbling first attempt, likely to appeal to only the most fervent animal lovers.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Grove Weidenfeld