Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Whale Song by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Ever since I read Mind in the Waters by Joan McIntyre (a book that celebrates the consciousness of whales and dolphins) I have loved cetaceans. It breaks my heart that they are still hunted. Commercial whaling has been banned for more than two decades, but Japan, Iceland, and Norway continue firing harpoons into these gentle creatures for products that nobody needs. Orcinus Orca (the Killer Whale) is not hunted commercially, is found in all oceans of the world, and with its striking black and white coloring is one of the best known of all the cetaceans.

Another great interest of mine is Native American culture. I greatly admire the native peoples and respect the inherent wisdom of the natural world that so permeates their culture.

So this book, for me, was a natural read. And I was not disappointed. It is a well written young adult coming of age tragedy thats appeal transcends the teen audience and encompasses anyone that would enjoy a tale well told.

Sarah Richardson moves with her family to Vancouver Island just as she's about to enter the sixth grade. Sarah makes a new best friend, Goldie (a local native girl), and soaks up wisdom from Goldie's grandmother Nana. Her mother is an artist and her father is a marine biologist studying killer whales. While there, Sarah is involved in a family tragedy that will change her life forever. As Sarah is the only witness to this tragedy, and suffers hysterical amnesia, this novel is a haunting tale of choices made and how the repercussions of those choices can tear a family apart. It is an enchanting and uplifting tale that combines the optimistic spirituality of native myth with the hard realities of modern existence. The characters and descriptive setting will enthrall you.

The edition of Whale Song that I read was dedicated to the memory of the author's brother, Jason Anthony Kaye, who was brutally murdered in 2006, a week after his 28th birthday. When the police discovered his body, they set out to track down his next of kin. In the end, the police tracked her down through this book. When they asked Jason's friends about relatives in the area, they said Jason had a sister who lived on the south side of Edmonton--they didn't know her name, but they knew that she had written a book about whales. The marvels of the internet ultimately, but sadly, brought two homocide investigators to her door. What a story. You can read more about Jason at the site she has set up in his honor:

I highly recommend this book.


Cheryl Kaye Tardif... said...

Wow...thank you so much for this lovely review. I am truly glad you enjoyed Whale Song. It's my "heart book".

May I quote part of your review on my sites/blogs? I'll link here to the full version.

Also, if you have time, would you post this review on Amazon? Right now 8 major publishers are reading my next novel. Agents and publishers look at reviews, so the more I have...well, the merrier we'll all be. lol

Thank you for recommending it on your listserv too.

I appreciate your comments about my brother. Yes, it was a terrible tragedy...but we survived it and I intend to keep Jason's memory alive. He was a funny kid--even in his late 20's. He was more connected to us--his family-- than we were aware. I miss him, but he's with me now every time I think of Whale Song. :)

All the best!

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

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