52 Blue

Bookshelf: 52 Blue

52 Blue – Leslie Jamison

52 Blue
52 Blue

This book turned out to be something entirely different than what I expected (I probably did not do enough research before committing to it). The subject matter sounds cool: a lone whale, calling at a frequency different from all other whales (52 Hertz), roams the world’s oceans in solitude. This whale actually exists.

Only this is not what the book is about. Jamison weaves together the story of the whale with the story of a woman who is equally solitary, not necessarily by choice. This is not a book about a whale. It is about being alone, for which the 52 Hz whale is used a metaphor. All sorts of cultural significance has been attached to the poor beast. It is the subject of a crowdfunded documentary. It has a twitter account.

I imagine that I would find it difficult, were I a serious cetacean researcher, to cope with the emotional baggage that the idea of this heavily anthropomorphised whale seems to rouse in people. There is so much internet matter about the 52 Hz whale that it is almsot overwhelming, but this BBC article presents a balanced view of the story, including the fact that some scientists think the whale might not be all that lonely after all.

You can read an extract from 52 Blue, (possibly) the full essay here, or you can buy the Kindle single.

If you are after WHALE FACTS or SCIENCE rather than all the feels, might I point you in the direction of Beautiful Whale, Listening to Whalesor Watching Giants. If it is adventure you are after, look no further.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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