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Songs of the Humpback Whale

by Jodi Picoult

Jane had always lived in somebody’s shadow. Escaping a childhood of abuse by marrying oceanographer Oliver Jones, she finds herself taking second place to his increasingly successful career. However, when her daughter Rebecca is similarly treated, Jane’s dramatic stand takes them all by surprise.

Leaving Oliver and his whale tapes behind in San Diego, Jane and Rebecca set out to drive across America to Jane’s brother Joley and the sanctuary of the Massachusetts apple orchard where he works. Joley directs Jane across the United States in a series of letters waiting for her in designated post offices. Each letter gives concise directions to the next post office; each letter provides Jane with a chance to reflect on her forgotten past.

Oliver, used to tracking male humpback whales across vast oceans, now has the task of tracking his wife across a continent. To do so he must learn to see the world – and even himself – through her eyes.


‘This powerful and affecting novel demonstrates that there are as many truths to a story as there are people to tell it.”  Publishers Weekly

“A structural tour-de-force… Picoult has the true storyteller’s ability to evoke a world on the page and pull the reader into it.”  The Women’s Review of Books

“A memorable and entertaining ride, [rendered] with great skill and rich detail.”  San Francisco Chronicle

“Jodi Picoult is a more convincing argument for reincarnation that anything Shirley MacLaine has ever written: How could a 26-year-old first novelist have so much knowledge of marriage, of mothering a teenager, of separation and reconciliation, unless she’s been down this road before in another guise? Picoult’s imagination is formidable.”  Los Angeles Times Book Review

“In the surrealistically twinkling hegira sections of this story… Jodi Picoult spreads her wings and catches an updraft.”  The New York Times Book Review



Book Club Notes
01 January, 1992

About Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-three novels, the last eight debuting at number one on The New York Times bestseller list. Jodi lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.


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