Fathoms is a gorgeous meditation on the awe-inspiring lives of whales, revealing what they can teach us about ourselves, our planet, and our relationship to other species.
What can whales reveal about our world today? When writer Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beachfront in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of whales shed light on the condition of our seas. Fathoms: The World in the Whale blends natural history, philosophy, and science to explore: How do whales experience ecological change? Will our connection to these storied animals be transformed by technology? What can observing whales teach us about the complexity, splendour, and fragility of life? In Fathoms, we learn about whales so rare they have never been named, whale songs that sweep across hemispheres in annual waves of popularity, and whales that have modified the chemical composition of our planet’s atmosphere. We travel to Japan to board the ships that hunt whales and delve into the deepest seas to discover the plastic pollution now pervading the whale’s undersea environment.
In the spirit of Rachel Carson and Rebecca Solnit, Giggs gives us a vivid exploration of the natural world even as she addresses what it means to write about nature at a time of environmental crisis. With depth and clarity, Giggs outlines the challenges we face as we attempt to understand the perspectives of other living beings, and our own place on an evolving planet. Evocative and inspiring, Fathoms marks the arrival of an essential new voice.
Rebecca Giggs is an award-winning writer from Perth, Australia. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Best Australian Essays, Best Australian Science Writing, and other publications. Fathoms is her first book.