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Eye of the Whale: A Novel Hardcover – August 4, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Many breathtaking scenes of the beauty and majesty of humpback whales, including a vivid look at a whale giving birth, are lost amid Abrams's heavy-handed focus on issues in his overblown second novel (after The Lost Diary of Don Juan), a preachy ecothriller. For Elizabeth McKay, a scientist who believes the humpbacks' complex songs are key to understanding the animal world, her efforts to crack the creatures' communication code take priority over her personal life, including her marriage and her friends. Opposing her work are businessmen wanting to increase whale hunting and make whale meat an international delicacy. As McKay tries to help a humpback that has swum up the Sacramento River, she begins to realize that the change in whales' songs warn that pollution is causing an alarming rate of babies born with birth defects. Ecoterrorists, ecoactivists and the ubiquitous government link weigh down the action. Only the whales have real personalities. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Douglas Carlton Abrams is the nationally bestselling author of The Lost Diary of Don Juan, which has been published in thirty languages.  He writes fact-based fiction and did extensive research for his new novel, including swimming with and recording humpback whales, meeting present-day whalers, and cage diving with great white sharks. Previously an editor at the University at California Press and HarperCollins, he is the cofounder of Idea Architects, a book and media development agency.



Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416532544
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416532545
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,072,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Douglas Carlton Abrams is a former editor at the University of California Press and HarperSanFrancisco. He is the co-author of a number of books on love, sexuality, and spirituality, including books written with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar, and Taoist Master Mantak Chia. He is the co-founder of Idea Architects, a book and media development agency, which works with visionary authors to create a wiser, healthier, and more just world. In his life and work, he is interested in cultivating all aspects of our humanity 'body, emotions, mind, and spirit. His goal in writing fiction is to create stories that not only entertain, but also attempt to question, enchant, and transform.

The Lost Diary of Don Juan, which Atria will release in May 2007, is his first novel and will be published in twenty-seven countries around the world. He lives in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife and three children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Elizabeth McKay is a Marine Biologist who is working on completing her PHD with a thesis of deciphering humpback whale communication. These whales' song, the most complex in nature, may in fact reveal secrets about the animal world that no one could have imagined. When a humpback whale makes its way up the Sacramento River with an unprecedented song, it is up to Elizabeth to save the whale - but little did she know the price of her endeavor. For as the story of the whale starts capturing the media's attention - it also lands her in danger from forces that do not want the whale's secrets revealed - that not only threaten her career and marriage - but her life.

Mr. Abrams has really done his homework on this one. I was captivated by this eco-thriller right from the start. Not only are the environmental issues mentioned in the story real - but there is just so much useful information within its pages - that I actually found it to be an educational tool. It really makes you think about our environment and makes you ponder what more can be done to protect our planet and everything in it.

I liked Elizabeth a lot - she was such a great heroine. And I just couldn't help falling in love with the whale as well. There was action that had me on the edge of my seat. This is great for anyone who likes reading about the environment and the issues that our ecosystem faces. This is one that will definitely stay with you long after you are done with it.
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Format: Hardcover
I wasn't prepared for a story so moving when I first picked up EYE OF THE WHALE: A NOVEL by Douglas Carlton Abrams. The premise of the book sounded good and I had a feeling that it would be interesting, but I certainly wasn't expecting something that would invade my dreams and keep me up at night! EYE OF THE WHALE was a great story about humans and our interaction with the world we live in. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a book that will really engage you and make you think.

Elizabeth is our main heroine in EYE OF THE WHALE. She is a marine biologist and spends a good deal of her time studying humpback whales and more specifically their songs in relation to their behavior. In fact, she spends so much time with her beloved whales that her marriage is falling apart. Desperately wanting to keep her husband Frank by her side, she tries to find a way stay active in both her marriage and her research. When she suddenly discovers that the whale song is changing however, she finds herself drawn down into a mystery that could involve not only the survival of the whales, but also of the human race.

I thought EYE OF THE WHALE was unique and captivating. Throughout the story we follow Elizabeth, Frank, other whale researchers, whalers, and even a Japanese corporation looking to promote whaling and liven up the whale market. While Abrams does write the story with a "save the whales" attitude, it also seemed like he gave us a fairly authentic look into the lives and reasoning behind those who hunt whales. I think that creating a book that was not entirely one-sided in its detail actually encouraged the story to grow and made it more realistic.

One of the main things that had me hooked on EYE OF THE WHALE was how Abrams brought the whales to life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
make for an engaging story. There are enough realistic elements that readers tend to equate it with non-fiction. It held my interest from the 1st chapter, starting with the whale's tale.
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Format: Hardcover
Like another reviewer, I had heard a fascinating radio interview with the author and was excited to read this book. What a disappointment! An outlandish storyline and cartoonish characters do a disservice to the big environmental topics (and fascinating whale research) the book attempts to take on. It could have been great, but it was awful. The big letdown reminded me of how I felt after watching the first X-Files movie, "Fight the Future," back in the 90s. (I just looked the movie up on Amazon and saw that one reviewer described it as "convoluted, cheesy, and overwrought" ... which also happens to be a good description of this book.) I gave the book two stars instead of one only because of the interesting interview.
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Format: Hardcover
Scientist Elizabeth McKay's basic hypothesis is that if we can understand the complicated songs of the humpback whales, we will geometrically improve our comprehension of the animal kingdom. Her Research turns into an obsession that devastates her marriage and costs her friends who believe she breathes solely to prove her theory.

However, she finds her on site work disturbed by whaling interests. Business and fishing interests push to hunt whales and begin a marketing campaign to turn the watery mammal's whale meat into an acceptable delicacy. When a humpback becomes endangered by swimming up the Sacramento River, McKay notices the song changed making her wonder what's going on; dramatically she concludes the whales are mourning the loss of clean oceans as human pollution has led to birth defects.

This action-packed eco-thriller contains an intriguing premise in which the whales warn humans through their songs that the oceans needed for life to thrive are dying. However, the cautionary warning at times is like a tsunami overwhelming its own message. Still overall this is a fun tale that pays homage to the movie Star trek IV although only Elizabeth and the whale in the Sacramento River are fully developed. Fans will enjoy Douglas Carlton Abrams' entertaining EYE OF THE WHALE as the humpbacks alert the human scientist that the end of days is upon us as they sing their version of Marvin Gaye's still fresh and even more relevant Mercy, Mercy Me The Ecology Song.

Harriet Klausner
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