THE BELUGA CAF: Whales and Music in an Arctic Landscape

Jim Nollman, Author . Univ. of California/Sierra Club $45 (318p) ISBN 978-1-57805-082-6

Nollman, a nature writer and founder of Interspecies, a nonprofit organization that brings artists into animal habitats, writes of his latest adventure. Having already played music with whales and dolphins, Nollman and two friends prepare to go to the Arctic to see the beluga white whales. The trio becomes even more intrigued on learning that the whales seem to be leaving their native habitat. The book tracks the entire excursion from Nollman's efforts to get funds for the trip, believing that his desire to play underwater music is as deserving of a grant as other scientific methods. Along the way, the trio encounters harsh weather, unfriendly Native Americans and various illnesses. While such details are standard fare in accounts of explorations, Nollman's writing is far more original when he describes the setting and, of course, the whales. "The whale takes my breath away. It is eight feet long, composed of tightly overlapping driftwood chips bleached shiny silver from years of alternating sun and water. A bouquet of purple lousewort flowers forms the eye... From the whale's mouth issues a driftwood spiral as along as the whale's body, bound with features from a dozen or more bird species." The book will appeal most to animal-rights activists and readers wanting powerful descriptions of the Arctic wilderness. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 07/22/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Paperback - 307 pages - 978-1-57805-087-1
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