Friday, 30 July 2010


  1. Philip,

    I was reading Leviathan whilst camping in Pembrokeshire last week, and despairing when I had to put it down to look after our young kids, but astonishing and extraordinary that as I read, I reached the discussion on Hamilton negotiating the whaling station in Milford Haven, which was the nearest town to the field we were camped out in. It was such an odd thing to find in the density of being totally engrossed, my jaw nearly hit the floor.

    Obviously went down there and sought out the wee museum, presumably you've been. Very odd to see their mockup of a "Starbuck General Store". Their two pieces of scrimshaw were very poignant. Not often that working class art is celebrated. Everything about them as objects, tainted with unmourned misery, and desperate human sweat. Such strangeness.

    I fear I have spoiled the book for my husband, I was so desperate to blurt out bits and pieces to him as I read.

    Needless to say, I've always loved whales. So strange but obvious, the pull they have over us. Your Natural History museum memories made me grin with recognition. Do you remember a documentary, years ago about the guy in Patagonia who lives in a hut on the coast, and poddles out to research the Right Wales, who all know him, and come and say hello? I still have it on a video tape if you've never seen it. It's utterly captivating. I've wanted to visit ever since.

    Your book though! Such a great achievement. Really, well done. I think it may well be a very single minded xmas gift book list I make this year.

    Not sure how you sign off a fan-letter-comment. Ahem. Er, yes.


  2. Thanks. Never actually made the trip to Miford Haven - just as Herman never made it to Nantucket when he wrote Moby-Dick.

    Glad you liked the book!