Saturday, August 23, 2014

Book Review: The Whales Know: A Journey Through Mexican California

Title: The Whales Know: A Journey Through Mexican California

Author: Pino Caccuci

Translator: Katherine Gregor

Publisher:  Armchair Traveller at the Bookhaus

Genre: Non-fiction

During a period described as “the the history of relations between our species and Mother Nature,” Italian author Pino Cacucci embarks on a journey through the Baja Peninsula to visit areas which serve as sanctuaries for gray whales. The narrative which unfolds in this compact book is rich with description of towns visited and roads traveled, as well as tales handed down through generations, Mexican and American history, and, of course, details of the author’s experiences with the subjects of his search. The effect these graceful and gentle whales have on him is a profound one, inspiring justifiable anger at a long and shameful whaling history, which, sadly, continues in many parts of the world, along with a deep respect and admiration for all cetaceans. English-speaking readers owe a debt of gratitude to Katherine Gregor for translating Caccuci’s text so beautifully, and to the publisher of this translation. In an era where so many texts have been reduced to pixels, The Whales Know, with its hard, fabric-bound cover, simple, elegant graphics, lack of blurbs and advertising, substantial paper, and satin-ribboned placeholder, is as lovely to touch as it is to read. More than just an “Armchair Traveller,” it is a perfect gift for yourself and the nature-lovers in your life.

Buy The Whales Know


  1. Thank you ever so much, Barbara. It was my first published translation and one couldn't have asked for a better start. When the publisher first asked me to read the original Italian, and write a book report, I couldn't believe my luck. I couldn't put it down and at the same time tried to pace myself because I didn't want the book to end. One of the few books that brought tears to my eyes. Also, the author, Pino Cacucci, was such a delight to work with whenever I had any questions about the text.

  2. You're so welcome, Katia. It was a joy to read and review this book. Like you, I had tears in my eyes in places—for the whales, for the reverence the author feels for them and the people and history of the peninsula. I learned so much. This is one book I will definitely read again! Bravo to Signore Cacucci, and to you!