WHALESONG by Robert Siegel


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More an animated Save-the-Whales pamphlet than a novel, this short book is the autobiography of Hruna the humpback whale. Hruna recalls his early times, snug between his mother's long white flippers, listening to her whalesong (""Sometimes it reduced me to tears--I don't know why. The big oily drops fuzzed my vision. . .""). He remembers being taken by his father to meet Hralekana the Great Whale, who tells ""the Story"" of the sea (which leads up to a diatribe on man's hunting of whales). And he recounts his Lonely Cruise--""a trip which every whale takes at the beginning of adulthood"" and which includes a brush with whalers, a beatific moment with the Whale of Light, friendship with ""pert"" Ala the albatross, the taking of ""the Plunge,"" and a glimpse of one of man's cities (""any creature that fouled its own waters surely wouldn't live long in the ocean""). Then Hruna must rescue his childhood sweetheart Lewte--""Man the monster had trapped her""--and they marry as Hruna becomes leader of the pod. But finally there'll be yet another run-in with whalers, and the Great Whale will sacrifice himself to save the others. (""Hrakelana had died in agony and not one of us had moved a fluke to help him."") With limp, maudlin, pseudo-poetic prose and some unintentional laughs: worthy message, weak fiction.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Crossway Books (9825 West Roosevelt Rd., Westchester, IL 60153)