What is a whalefall? I held back from delving into this marine biology term and I suggest you do the same until the end of this extraordinary book. Part sci-fi, part thriller, part adventure, this intense story will stay with me for a long time.
Daniel Kraus has collaborated with Guillermo del Toro and if you’ve seen the movie The Shape of Water, you will have an idea of the fantastical yet beautiful scenes in this book. Seventeen year old Jay Gardiner sets off on a dive to find his father Mitt’s bones off a place called Monastery Beach. It seems like an impossible task, but Jay is trying to find some peace because his relationship with his difficult father was tumultuous at best while Mitt was alive.
Mitt’s voice is still in Jay’s head as he tangles with a giant squid and suddenly, improbably, is swallowed whole by a sperm whale. What follows next is an exciting, heart-pounding (and heart-wrenching) adventure as Jay fights to escape from the belly of the whale. And Jay only has an hour of air left in his tank.
The tension of the claustrophobic setting is relieved by flashbacks to Jay’s younger years and to his relationship with his mother and sisters. In the present, Jay must use every lesson his father tried to impart to him about the mighty whales in order to free himself before his air runs out.
I loved this story, but I did not love the audiobook narrator and I HIGHLY recommend reading this book instead. It’s unforgettable!
About the Book:
Whalefall is a scientifically accurate thriller about a scuba diver who’s been swallowed by an eighty-foot, sixty-ton sperm whale and has only one hour to escape before his oxygen runs out.
Jay Gardiner has given himself a fool’s errand—to find the remains of his deceased father in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Monastery Beach. He knows it’s a long shot, but Jay feels it’s the only way for him to lift the weight of guilt he has carried since his dad’s death by suicide the previous year.
The dive begins well enough, but the sudden appearance of a giant squid puts Jay in very real jeopardy, made infinitely worse by the arrival of a sperm whale looking to feed. Suddenly, Jay is caught in the squid’s tentacles and drawn into the whale’s mouth where he is pulled into the first of its four stomachs. He quickly realizes he has only one hour before his oxygen tanks run out—one hour to defeat his demons and escape the belly of a whale.