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Whale Music Paperback – May 20 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada; 1 Edition edition (May 20 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679308687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679308683
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #114,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Young on Aug. 18 2009
Format: Paperback
You might say that winning the Governor General's Award is enough to recommend "Whale Music," but when books win awards like this it makes people think of them as dry and somehow... literary. This book is "literary," but it is also compellingly readable, delightfully entertaining, the kind of book you spill coffee on in the morning because you can't wait to get back to it. It has a sense of humour as well as a sense of a deeper meaning--as in other Quarrington novels, each one requires the other.

The story takes place in the California mansion of the "Whale Man:" Des Howell, former member of the "Howell Brothers," one half of which team has recently died. Des is having a hard time adjusting to his brother's death. He is also in a continuously drunk, drugged and mentally unstable condition, which is made more precarious by the persistent invasion of undersirables such as his mother, reporters, record executives--people squeezing out more money and forcing the obese, hermitic Whale Man to blockade his house to avoid institutionalization. The one thing which keeps Des focused is in composing the dreamlike Whale Music which he will use to summon the whales. One day he wakes up to find a guest: Claire, "the naked alien from the far-off planet of Toronto." She has come to him for personal reasons and also because she believes in him, without recompense.

Quarrington borrows the events from the real life of a former member of the Beach Boys who became a recluse and drug addict in similar circumsances, but reality and fiction are woven together so expertly, like music weaving its way into silence, that it just becomes part of the joke, a device which he employs. To the Whale Man, music is an ethereal being with a spirit all its own...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cordova Bay Entertainment Group, Inc. on Sept. 30 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember reading some years ago that Brian Wilson is reported to have remarked - "Whale Music is the best book about the Beach Boys that I have read." Why not?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11 1997
Format: Hardcover
There are a rare few writers in our society that can capture the paradox between the fragility and strength of the human spirit like Paul Quarrington. The alcoholic, drug-addicted main character spends his time talking to ghosts of his past, dunking his naked, corpulent body in the pool, and working on a composition for the whales below his cliff-side house. An uninvited visitor from another universe turns his life upside-down and he is forced to face the ghosts of his past, present, and future. In the process he lays bare those things that we most hide about our own selves, that make up the very essence of those things which make us human. If you like books which forever change the way you look at life, "Whale Music" is for you
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By A Customer on Nov. 10 2001
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has been semi conscious on Earth over the last 40 years knows that "Whale Music" draws it's inspiration from The Beach Boy's creative genius; Brian Wilson. As I recollect, Mr. Quarrington's book hit the shelves at about the same time as Mr. Wilson's autobiography. Having read both, I would choose to re-read 'Whale Music'. At it's worst, it's fictionalized take off on the man's life is extremely entertaining. At it's best, it's a great satire of the media's reporting of Mr. Wilson's every ingested cheeseburger. I love this book and, I especially love Brian Wilson's contribution to the world.
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