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    Finalist for the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction

    A “delving, haunted, and poetic debut” (The New York Times Book Review) about the awe-inspiring lives of whales, revealing what they can teach us about ourselves, our planet, and our relationship with other species. 

    When writer Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beachfront in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of whales reflect the condition of our oceans. Fathoms: The World in the Whale is “a work of bright and careful genius” (Robert Moor, New York Times best-selling author of On Trails), one that blends natural history, philosophy, and science to explore: How do whales experience ecological change? How has whale culture been both understood and changed by human technology? What can observing whales teach us about the complexity, splendor, and fragility of life on Earth? 

    In Fathoms, we learn about whales so rare they have never been named, whale songs that sweep across hemispheres in annual waves of popularity, and whales that have modified the chemical composition of our planet’s atmosphere. We travel to Japan to board the ships that hunt whales and delve into the deepest seas to discover how plastic pollution pervades our earth’s undersea environment. 

    With the immediacy of Rachel Carson and the lush prose of Annie Dillard, Giggs gives us a “masterly” (The New Yorker) exploration of the natural world even as she addresses what it means to write about nature at a time of environmental crisis. With depth and clarity, she outlines the challenges we face as we attempt to understand the perspectives of other living beings, and our own place on an evolving planet. Evocative and inspiring, Fathoms “immediately earns its place in the pantheon of classics of the new golden age of environmental writing” (Literary Hub).

    ©2020 Rebecca Giggs (P)2020 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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    • Global
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Fact addict
    • 18/01/2021

    Just unsatisfactory... I had such hope!

    I did have such hope for this book! Having lived near the ocean for years, and being vitally interested in all things marine, my brain was agape for a truckload of information to be dumped in....bit by bit, or large amounts at a time. Somehow, this just hasn’t been what I hoped/expected.
    A lot of the data is valid, and appreciated. When I think about it, the possibility is that the book is too...... poetic (?) does that make sense? I do love some lilting prose, and nothing speaks of largesse like the deep ocean whale fall. But somehow, the poetic delivery softened the facts a bit too much. That sounds odd, now that I Re-read it: sorry if so.
    I think this is going to be one of the books that needs the graphics, pictures of various types and from many sources, and charts.....I think. I am going to return this, and see if the ink-and-paper delivery works better.
    To a great extent, this book reminds me of a book I read long, long ago... in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Title was “Tge Last Whale.” It was an emotional journey from cover to back. No idea who wrote it, but it was enthralling and heart-rending. I think I’ll try to find it again, then dip back into this one.
    Another note: the narrator is evidently Australian; her delivery is faultless. The only problem is that the accent tends to make horrific terrible facts and statistics.... somehow NOT as terrible. I guess that is as backward a compliment as one can get.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Allie
    • 05/02/2021

    Beautiful, important book

    Beautiful nature writing. Weaves together biology, climate science, and environmentalism for an astounding read. I also lived the narration!