Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Whale Caller by Zakes Mda

The Whale Caller

by Zakes Mda

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
935129,846 (3.48)23



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 23 mentions

English (3)  Dutch (2)  All languages (5)
Showing 3 of 3
Mda's The Whale Caller is so rich that it's difficult for a reader to distinguish between fantasy and reality. The characters are so flawed and distinctive, and their story so sweet, that the world becomes something almost idyllic, despite its downfalls and poverty. Centered in off-kilter romances and fantasy, the book is something of a lovesong to what imagination can accomplish for its characters, and of course for the reader.

Yet, for me, I have to admit that the ending very nearly ruined the book for me, and certainly ruined the world of the book. Having read it, and been so shocked by it, I couldn't really recommend the book to other readers unless they could commit to neglecting those last few pages. I adore Mda's writing, but that ending... well, it would be enough to put me off of his work if I weren't already a fan, not for the believability, but for the too-easy horror, that is all to believable, just as much as the rest of the story is surprisingly believable.

I don't know what to say beyond the fact that Mda's writing and world-building an character creation are marvelous. And that I now hate him, just a bit, for writing this ending. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Sep 20, 2014 |
This was a treat! The Whale Caller is passionate about the whales that periodically visit the waters of the small coastal town of Hermanus, where he blows his kelp horn for them. He is especially enamoured of Sharisa, a female southern right, who responds to his call and rewards him by dancing to his music, with him, for hours on end.

Saluni, the feisty village drunk, is equally passionate about the Whale Caller. She follows him around and makes no secret of her adoration for him. Being of subtle disposition, he is regularly embarrassed and scandalised by her attention. She couldn’t be more different to him. She is a free spirit who loves life, laughter and living; he is quiet, cautious, and patiently content with his lot.

"Saluni was made to be recklessly happy. She has no cares in the world,” and is, “A glorious celebrant of worldliness.” Her physical make-up is colourful: Her manicured nails are red. She always wears a fawn pure-wool coat over a green taffeta dress, with red pencil-heeled shoes (which she often has to remove, when inebriated), black fishnet stockings, a long black cigarette holder with a shock of red hair to complete the picture.

As a relationship slowly develops between the two, we become steeped in an unforgettable love triangle comprising a gentle man lost in his adoration of a whale, a whale who seems to love him in return, and a seriously enamoured woman who will stop at nothing to have the man she loves completely to herself.

This was a wonderfully entertaining read! It is naughty, playful and sometimes totally irreverent. ( )
  akeela | Feb 10, 2009 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312425872, Paperback)

As Zakes Mda's fifth novel opens, the seaside village of Hermanus is overrun with whale-watchers--foreign tourists determined to see whales in their natural habitat. But when the tourists have gone home, the whale caller lingers at the shoreline, wooing a whale he has named Sharisha with cries from a kelp horn. When Sharisha fails to appear for weeks on end, the whale caller frets like a jealous lover--oblivious to the fact that the town drunk, Saluni, a woman who wears a silk dress and red stiletto heels, is infatuated with him.
The two misfits eventually fall in love. But each of them is ill equipped for romance, and their relationship suggests, in the words of The Washington Post, that "the deeper, darker concern here is not so much the fragility of love, but the fragility of life itself when one surrenders wholly to the foolish heart."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:41 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Charts a tender, funny romance between the "Whale Caller" of a small South African coastal village and the town drunk, Saluni.

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
10 wanted
2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.48)
1 2
1.5 1
3 7
3.5 1
4 8
5 4

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,856,815 books! | Top bar: Always visible