Friday, March 8, 2024

Boswellian Kim Reads Whalefall by Daniel Kraus

Boswellian Kim reads and reacts to Whalefall, a novel by Daniel Kraus:

 "If you can't know what's right in front of you, you can't know what's beyond you."  

Monterey, California. At 17, Jay has been at odds with his ocean-salt crusty, dogmatic, and dictatorial father since he can remember. Mitt perpetually pushes Jay to be more like him: an open water approach to life, a relentless need to be one with the ocean and a no holds barred mindset to diving that is absolute. But Jay cannot and runs away; not far, just across town. It's been a year of estrangement when Mitt is diagnosed with a butchering lung cancer, and the end is near. But Jay stands his ground; no visits or goodbyes. So, Mitt dies by his own hands in the ocean he loved above all. Jay's mother and sisters are crushed and angry, and the Monterey dive community turns against Jay.  

Jay, tired of being misunderstood, decides he'll make a dive to retrieve Mitt's bones, bringing closure and peace to himself and those he loves. The dive is dangerous. At 90 feet, on the edge of the sea cliff that sinks to infinite depths, a giant squid appears. Then TAK, TAK, TAK.  The stunning, sledgehammer echolocation of a sperm whale targeting its prey. But the prey includes Jay! Beast and boy are sucked into the mouth of the whale. The search is over, and the battle for life begins.

Whalefall is an extraordinary story of a father and son. Of a boy's ability to use every bit of once-thought-useless teachings to solve problems in the belly of a sea mammoth. Mitt is with him, whispering and shouting puzzle-like thoughts. Jay needs to come to terms with his father, whose ghost may very well save his life. It is the exchange of information and emotion between the two that made this story an emotional ordeal and a hold-your-breath pleasure for me. Breath sleepy as you read it.

Kim isn't the only Whalefall-fan (Whalefan?) among the Boswellians. From Kay Wosewick: "WOW! Whalefall is poignant, brainy, fascinating, and unputdownable. Did I mention unique? When I finished reading and closed the book, I was so dumbstruck that I was glued to my chair for over thirty minutes."

Event note! On Monday, April 8, 6:30 pm, Whalefall author Daniel Kraus will be at Boswell. Please click here to visit to register for this event. You can also order your copy of Whalefall now. Call the store, stop by and ask a bookseller to guide you to a copy, or hey, here's the link to purchase on our website

Also, book club add-on appearance note! Kraus will join the April meeting of the Boswell-run Sci-fi Book Club - it's the same evening of the event. The book club meets at 5:30 pm (once again, that's on Monday, April 8) to start the conversation, and then Kraus will join the conversation at 6 pm to answer questions - and yes, during the book club portion of the evening, you're welcome to ask questions that contain spoilers! Visit our book club page right here for more book club info.

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