Books: Fiat Flukes


Assembled by JOAN MClNTYRE

240 pages. Scribners/Sierra Club. $14.95.

Genius in the Sperm Whale? Has the Sperm Whale ever written a book, spoken a speech? No, his great genius is declared in doing nothing at all.

—Herman Melville

What whales and their dolphin kin will not declare, this extraordinary book celebrates. It is a collection, really an orchestration, of appreciative views of the great creatures. Sober scientific articles and elegiac poems, naturalists' reports and scholars' musings, pencil drawings and underwater photographs jumble together, but all gently point to the possibility that whales are geniuses. The conclusion, of course, is unproved, yet most...

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