Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices

Jodi Picoult, Author
Jodi Picoult, Author Faber & Faber $22.95 (343p) ISBN 978-0-571-12927-0
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-340-89731-7
Hardcover - 427 pages - 978-1-4447-5438-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4561-0980-6
Paperback - 427 pages - 978-0-340-89730-0
Paperback - 376 pages - 978-957-05-2842-8
Paperback - 346 pages - 978-0-7434-3101-9
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-7434-3984-8
Paperback - 544 pages - 978-0-7531-8213-0
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As Picoult uses five voices to tell a complex tale of love, friendship and a Faulknerian family history, her mastery of language strongly individuates her characters. The primary voice in this accomplished first novel belongs to Jane Jones, a speech pathologist living in San Diego, Calif. Other narrators are her daughter Rebecca; her husband, Oliver, a marine biologist renowned for his research on the songs of humpback whales; her brother Joley; and her lover, Sam. When an argument between Jane and Oliver culminates in her striking him, Jane is shattered. A childhood victim of physical and sexual abuse, Jane has tried to submerge her memories, but this outbreak of violence causes her to reexamine her life. On a cross-country automobile trip, Jane and Rebecca travel to Stow, Mass., where Joley is living and where each woman meets the man she believes is her destiny. Jane relates the events that occur from San Diego to Stow, while Rebecca tells the story in reverse, flashing back from the climax. Their stories intersect in an Iowa cornfield that still bears the wreckage of the airliner on which then-three-year-old Rebecca was being sent back to her father during her parents' earlier separation; she was one of five survivors. This powerful and affecting novel demonstrates that there are as many truths to a story as there are people to tell it. (Apr.)
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