by Farley Mowat
It gets set up slowly, introducing the reader to the history of whaling in Newfoundland (and around the world) as well as the location. Mowat had only been in this remote fishing community for five years, seeking a quiet place to live far from "modern society" (he rants a lot against industrialization and modern technology, seems to hate the telephone in particular). Unfortunately his actions in favor of the whale brought all kinds of conflict and ill-feeling, I guess he did not continue living there for long after the incident. In parts the book is almost more a study of human nature (how people responded to the whale's presence and each other's involvement in its plight) than it is about the whale itself. There are some detailed descriptions of its sheer size, calm movements, eerie sounds. Also details on its natural feeding methods (which could hardly be met) and how another fin whale (probably its mate) stayed just outside the inlet to the cove constantly until the whale died. It's a frustrating story to read, because so little could be done, and by the time scientists became interested in the whale it was too late for them to arrive and learn anything. But the book did have an impact on early whale conservation efforts.
Rating: 3/5 239 pages, 1972