Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Review by Shellie: The Song of the Whales by Uri Orlev


A sweet and mostly realistic tale, with touches of the magical. The story  addresses connections to loved ones after death.

Mini Synopsys:    This is a translated work which is a sweet and fantastic tale about a young boy whose family moves to Israel from New York to care for his aging and dying grandfather. Michael, his American name, is a loner of a child and prefers adult company to that of children. He is comfortable with this move since he does speak fluent Hebrew.

Upon arrival to Israel, he meets his grandfather and they become very close. Over their time together his grandfather shares his knowledge of his special gift, that Michael also possess. Only Michael doesn’t realize how special he really is.

My Thoughts:   I enjoyed this tale with its many interesting themes, such as addressing dreams, death, respect for the old, thinking about rebirth, reincarnation, sharing past lives, vegetarianism, morality and recognizing special gifts.

Several problems I had with the book is that it did not feel completely translated in a few small areas; there were bits which could be confusing for an American reader. I imagine that this was remedied since the copy that I read was an ARC – advanced read copy.  Another is that one of the characters, Michael’s grandfather’s housekeeper/girlfriend, was portrayed as a difficult person. My problem was that although she cared for his grandfather, his grandfather’s home, did all the cooking, and after a move did these things for Michael's family as well, she was treated with disrespect by the entire family. Not a great role model for a child.

All in all, I adore translations and when looking beyond the annoyances mentioned above, I give this book 3.5 stars. I liked it a lot.

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