Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel

Jodi Picoult
Sometimes finding your own voice is a matter of listening to the heart.... Jodi Picoult's powerful novel portrays an emotionally charged marriage that changes course in one explosive moment....For years, Jane Jones has lived in the shadow of her husband, renowned San Diego oceanographer Oliver Jones. But during an escalating argument, Jane turns on him with an alarming volatility. In anger and fear, Jane leaves with their teenage daughter, Rebecca, for a cross-country odyssey charted by letters from her brother Joley, guiding them to his Massachusetts apple farm, where surprising self-discoveries await. Now Oliver, an expert at tracking humpback whales across vast oceans, will search for his wife across a continent -- and find a new way to see the world, his family, and himself: through her eyes.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2017-08-29
Book Description Sometimes finding your own voice is a matter of listening to the heart.... Jodi Picoult's powerful novel portrays an emotionally charged marriage that changes course in one explosive moment....For years, Jane Jones has lived in the shadow of her husband, renowned San Diego oceanographer Oliver Jones. But during an escalating argument, Jane turns on him with an alarming volatility. In anger and fear, Jane leaves with their teenage daughter, Rebecca, for a cross-country odyssey charted by letters from her brother Joley, guiding them to his Massachusetts apple farm, where surprising self-discoveries await. Now Oliver, an expert at tracking humpback whales across vast oceans, will search for his wife across a continent -- and find a new way to see the world, his family, and himself: through her eyes. Editorial Reviews From Publishers Weekly As Picoult uses five voices to tell a complex tale of love, friendship and a Faulknerian family history, her mastery of language strongly individuates her characters. The primary voice in this accomplished first novel belongs to Jane Jones, a speech pathologist living in San Diego, Calif. Other narrators are her daughter Rebecca; her husband, Oliver, a marine biologist renowned for his research on the songs of humpback whales; her brother Joley; and her lover, Sam. When an argument between Jane and Oliver culminates in her striking him, Jane is shattered. A childhood victim of physical and sexual abuse, Jane has tried to submerge her memories, but this outbreak of violence causes her to reexamine her life. On a cross-country automobile trip, Jane and Rebecca travel to Stow, Mass., where Joley is living and where each woman meets the man she believes is her destiny. Jane relates the events that occur from San Diego to Stow, while Rebecca tells the story in reverse, flashing back from the climax. Their stories intersect in an Iowa cornfield that still bears the wreckage of the airliner on which then-three-year-old Rebecca was being sent back to her father during her parents' earlier separation; she was one of five survivors. This powerful and affecting novel demonstrates that there are as many truths to a story as there are people to tell it. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From Library Journal This uniquely constructed first novel, the literary equivalent of counterpoint in music, is told in five voices whose polyphonic development delineates a multifaceted love story on different levels for different individuals. These voices belong to five characters--Jane, who has sacrificed her life to her oceanographer husband's career; her daughter, Rebecca, whom Jane seeks to protect; and three very different men in their lives. As Jane heads east from San Diego with her daughter, having abandoned her husband to his whale tapes, the characters' contrapuntal recollections offer psychological insights into their lives. These insights lead to growth, second chances, and love. Charming and poignant, Picoult's novel is even better after a second reading. For public libraries. - Ellen R. Cohen, Rockville, Md. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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