SEAL-WOMAN by Ronald Lockley


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An undulant fantasy, Green Mansions-style, for fanciers of Wild (female) Things who make the heart sing even underwater, as does that of the narrator who pursues the smooth Pinnipedian form of Shian, the seal-woman--a human who is a mite confused about her species. Last member of the ancient O'Malley family whose preserves included a magnificent wild stretch of Irish coastline, Shian is convinced that she is in reality a seal-child who will eventually be wooed and won by a Prince-seal who will take her to a kingdom beyond the horizon. The narrator, in visits to the coast, accidentally fills the bill when he kills a leader-bull. The two mate joyously on the waves and Shian, after a migration with the females, produces a child. While the ""Prince"" mulls over the demands of seal- and people-hood, and is determined to bring his wild mate to live on land, Shian is pulled again to the sea, while the child is rescued by the father. It all ends eerily and unhappily with the horror of a seal-kill and the destruction of the sheltering wilderness. British naturalist Lockley wrote The Private Life of the Rabbit, used by Richard Adams as the basis for youknowwhat, and Locldey like Adams (or Adams like Lockley?) writes with such a lyric empathy for nature and marine fauna (he is also the author of a book about seals) that even the wariest might just be pulled under. This curio could make a small splash.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Bradbury