When the Whales Leave (Seedbank)

October 30, 2020
When the Whales Leave (Seedbank)

Nau cannot remember a time when she was not one with the worldaround her: with the fast breeze, the green grass, the high clouds,and the endless blue sky above the Shingled Spit. But her greatestjoy is to visit the sea, where whales gather every morning to gailyspout rainbows.Then, one day, she finds a man in the mist where a whale shouldbe: Reu, who has taken human form out of his Great Love for her.Together these first humans become parents to two whales, and thento mankind. Even after Reu dies, Nau continues on, sharing herstory of brotherhood between the two species. But as these originsgrow more distant, the old woman's tales are subsumed into myth—andher descendants turn increasingly bent on parading their dominanceover the natural world.Buoyantly translated into English for the first time by IlonaYazhbin Chavasse, this new entry in the Seedbank series is at oncea vibrant retelling of the origin story of the Chukchi, a timelyparable about the destructive power of human ego—and anotherunforgettable work of fiction from Yuri Rytkheu, "arguably theforemost writer to emerge from the minority peoples of Russia's farnorth" (New York Review of Books).