Whalefall: A Novel
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io9: There’s something very alien about a lot of deep sea creatures; how did you approach writing details to work in a way that seems both plausible and otherworldly in their strangeness? WHALEFALL is a remarkable book. I immersed myself in it and never felt the need to come up for air. As such, it gets my highest recommendation! That’s important, as Whalefall doesn’t fit neatly into any box. Early critics have compared it to 127 Hours and The Martian but that’s an understatement. Listings categorize the novel as literary fiction, drama, adventure, science fiction, horror, and more. It’s both all of that and not quite any of it.
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Unfortunately, the squid is prey for a mighty sperm whale, who inadvertently consumes Jay in the process of devouring the squid. Trapped alive like a modern Jonah in the belly of the whale, it’s on Jay to escape his predicament as his sanity and oxygen deplete. A moving character study disguised as a riveting, cinematic survival thriller...The pacing is relentless, the awe astounding, and the tension palpably constricting, even as Kraus takes time to provide necessary details both scientific and visceral."— Booklist, starred review
I think if you let yourself just sink into this one, let the story wash over you and really feel it, this could be an equally powerful read for you. Astoundingly great. Whalefall is, quite simply, a beautiful novel - a must-read story of the sea, the nature of awe, and the briny relationships between fathers and sons." - Gillian Flynn I developed such compassion for Jay over the course of the story, but also compassion for this whale, who becomes such a beautiful character unto itself. When I mentioned Frankenstein earlier, it's particularly this connection I meant.
Book Marks reviews of Whalefall by Daniel Kraus Book Marks Book Marks reviews of Whalefall by Daniel Kraus Book Marks
I read the first part of this book, really digging it, and we come to the central conflict of this scientifically accurate thriller.The story seems simple enough. Seventeen-year-old Jay Gardiner sets off on a dangerous quest: to find his father’s bones off the coast of Monastery Beach (aka Mortuary Beach). His relationship with his dad was more tumultuous than any ocean storm, and likely just as complicated. Jay refused to meet with the man prior to his suicide, a final spike in the calloused heart fostered by the man. Unfortunately, for me at least, it feels like it was written to be a formulaic character arc for Jay to accept his father for who he was, while giving the reader a claustrophobic, yet cinematic feel-good story that could easily be sold to a major motion picture studio as the next Tom Holland vehicle.
Whalefall review: Stunning novel about being swallowed by a
Jay is a 17-year-old boy who recently lost his Dad, Mitt, to mesothelioma and suicide. Mitt spent much of his life in the water, so when he saw the end coming, he weighted himself down and did a whalefall into the ocean. The father and son didn’t have the best relationship, and diving was about the only activity they did together. Jay was Mitt’s only boy, but he is small in stature and sensitive, leading to a lot of ridicule from his father. When Mitt was dying, he begged the family to make Jay come visit him, but Jay refused.It was absolutely exhilarating. I might even say, it’s the next best thing to actually go scuba diving because, I am so terrified of being in the ocean, I will never experience this for myself. So I enjoy watching oceanic nature documentaries so that I can see what it’s like down there. Kraus cinematically used the gift of storytelling to bring Jay’s dive to life making it as real as possible for his audience.