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Daniel Kraus

Author of The Shape of Water [novelization]

26+ Works 2,777 Members 133 Reviews

About the Author

Image credit: Author Daniel Kraus at the Saturday zombie discussion panel on Day 3 of the 2012 New York Comic Con, Saturday October 13, 2012 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. By Luigi Novi, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22563880


Works by Daniel Kraus

Associated Works

Gothic Blue Book: The Revenge Edition (2012) — Contributor — 5 copies


abuse (22) ARC (16) audiobook (23) bullying (24) coming of age (18) death (23) ebook (26) family (21) fantasy (70) fathers (13) fathers and sons (12) fiction (129) goodreads (10) grave robbers (10) grave robbing (23) grief (11) Hard Case Crime (12) high school (16) historical fiction (19) horror (158) Iowa (19) Kindle (18) mental illness (11) monsters (11) murder (12) mystery (15) novel (11) own (12) read (22) realistic fiction (10) romance (22) science fiction (44) survival (12) teen (18) thriller (24) to-read (439) unread (15) YA (51) young adult (57) zombies (13)

Common Knowledge

Midland, Michigan, USA



not for the faint of heart- or stomach. A bit of a downer but certainly different
cspiwak | 33 other reviews | Mar 6, 2024 |
Whalefall is an unexpected observation on the complexities of the parent and child relationship told through the main character's traumatic swallowing by whale.

Mitt Gardiner is an expert diver and ocean conservationist of the extreme order. Someone who almost loathes living on land. Diving is his everything. It’s a passion he intends to share with his only son, Jay, whether he enjoys it or not. Jay’s perspective straddles a blurred line between apt pupil, dutiful son, and resentful child/teen.

Mitt teaches Jay everything he knows. He means to make his son capable and safe in the ocean and maybe also in life. He is harder on his son than on his daughters in all the ways that parents can be; setting higher goals and expectations for the only male child. In a way, Jay feels like Mitt’s legacy, but not all children want to be that. There’s a key line in the book about fathers having obligations, to which Mitt retorts, don’t sons have obligations, too?

Jay leaves home at fifteen, following news that his father has terminal cancer (mesothelioma). He intends to prove to Mitt that he’s his own man who can make it in the world unaided (though he always has arm’s-length support from his parents). Independent and spirited to a fault, Jay moves from place to place until he ultimately settles in with another family that is no blood relation.

Meanwhile, his own family suffers through Mitt’s disease without Jay. It isn’t until after Mitt commits suicide, returning himself to the ocean that is all he’s ever wanted to surround himself with, that Jay gains perspective on the importance of his father’s lessons and of belonging to a family. He decides that he can overcome the resultant chasm between his self and his mother and sisters if only he can dive one last time and recover something of Mitt for them to bury; a sort of closure that the family did not get from having no mortal remains to inter. Jay’s return to the ocean after two years puts to the test every bit of knowledge Mitt has ever imparted, and through his journey into the mouth of a sperm whale, Jay finds acceptance, understanding, and a deep longing for life.

Beautifully written and technically graceful, Whalefall is art of the highest order. The author seams the past and present together beautifully and tells a resonating story through a scientific lens. Highly recommended, this one is a contender for novel of the year.

Thank you to NetGalley and the author for an Advance Reader Copy. This novel releases August 8, 2023 so pre-order your copy today. I have.
… (more)
bfrisch | 14 other reviews | Mar 3, 2024 |
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!

Gosh this was beautiful. Brutal, violent, terrifying, but totally breathtaking. The descriptions of the whale alongside the total life and death mechanics Jay goes through is totally mind blowing, and so well grounded.
eboods | 14 other reviews | Feb 28, 2024 |
The blind audacity of a teenager lands him in a truly wild predicament. All because his family and his town assign a stupid amount of blame on him surrounding his psycho dad’s cancer battle and subsequent suicide.

You can’t even root for the whale because it quickly becomes a symbol of his dad in some strange—and failed—attempt at a trauma coping mechanism.

And here’s a sentence I never thought I’d have to write in a book review: Excessive use of the word “sphincter”.… (more)
ilkjen | 14 other reviews | Feb 5, 2024 |



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Associated Authors

Rovina Cai Illustrator
Jenna Lamia Narrator
Sean Murray Illustrator
Paul Mann Cover artist


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