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An astonishing and immersive new novel, Pod takes the reader into the depths of the ocean-and into the world of its fascinating inhabitants-through the eyes of the beautiful Ea, a spinner dolphin. Laline Paull returns with an immersive and transformative new novel of an ocean world-its extraordinary creatures, mysteries, and mythologies-that is increasingly haunted by the cruelty and ignorance of the human race. Ea has always felt like an outsider. As a spinner dolphin who has recently come of age, she's now expected to join in the elaborate rituals that unite her pod. But Ea suffers from a type of deafness that prevents her from mastering the art of spinning. When catastrophe befalls her family and Ea knows she is partly to blame, she decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave the pod. As Ea ventures into the vast, she discovers dangers everywhere, from lurking predators to strange objects floating in the water. Not to mention the ocean itself seems to be changing; creatures are mutating, demonic noises pierce the depths, whole species of fish disappear into the sky above. Just as she is coming to terms with her solitude, a chance encounter with a group of arrogant bottlenoses will irrevocably alter the course of her life. In her terrifying, propulsive novel, Laline Paull explores the true meaning of family, belonging, sacrifice-the harmony and tragedy of the pod-within an ocean that is no longer the sanctuary it once was, and which reflects a world all too recognizable to our own.… (mais)
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Exibindo 5 de 5
Ea, a dolphin elder, the last of the Longi, looks back on her life.

An interesting story illustrating the different social customs among different types of dolphin and just how brutal they can be, and the impact of "anthrops" on the oceans. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Oct 4, 2023 |
4.25⭐

*Shortlisted for the 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction*

“Each pod has pride and virtue, each feels above the other. They do not know they share one fatal flaw: they think they know this ocean.”

Atmospheric and immersive Laline Paull’s Pod takes us on an exploration of cetacean life both in its beauty and in the struggle for survival against threats – from environmental and man-made to the struggle among various species of marine life for dwindling resources for sustenance and a safe space to call home.

The narrative is shared by Ea, a spinner dolphin separated from her pod after a tragedy who ultimately ends up forced to become a member of the Megapod of bottlenose dolphins; a lone Rorqual whale whose sad song Ea hears; a giant Napoleon Wrasse who also finds himself alone; and Google, a military-trained dolphin who has spent most of his life in the company of “anthrops”. In the course of the story, we also meet a parasitic Remora fish that attaches itself to Ea and the salpa salpa, tranquilizer fish that are consumed for their ability to induce sleep and help with pain among the cetacean creatures.

In presenting the story from these unique PoVs and depicting the affection and unity amongst those in the same pod, the empathy and concern for one another and how they are often helpless in the face of exploitation and external interference, the author does a brilliant job of humanizing these sea creatures. The author’s impeccable research is evident in how she describes oceanic life. The author’s vivid imagery of the depths of the ocean and marine life as seen from the perspective of its inhabitants as their perception of the world above and the “demons” that threaten their way of life and their very existence is stunning in its detail. The author is unflinching when she talks about how human interference has resulted in dwindling populations of ocean life, unsafe and polluted living conditions and has disrupted the marine ecosystem and the life cycles and habits of the different species. Ultimately, this is a story of family, sacrifice, loss and survival in the face of life-threatening forces beyond one’s control.

“Their homewater was no more, powerful devils were ripping the ocean apart and their screaming was killing pods of pilots, of humpbacks, of dolphins. There were nets of death where once was open water, there were great rents in the seabed. Death was everywhere, people were fleeing, the ocean was either full of refugees or terrifyingly empty.”

Please note that this is not an easy story to read. This is not anthropomorphism for amusement or comic effect. It is far from that. While this novel isn’t a lengthy story, it is a heavy one. It ventures into dark territory with instances of violence, assault, descriptions of mass casualties of marine animals and much more.

As the author writes in her Note:
“A changing ocean, becoming inexplicably hostile. The struggle for resources, the anxiety, the anger. The ocean is full of miracles, not least the fact that it gives us the oxygen for every other breath we take. Our survival is inextricably linked to ocean health, yet our species continues to degrade and exploit it. Terrible details to face, yet countless wonders. How could we do this to our world? How can we stop it?”

Heartbreaking yet informative and enlightening, Pod by Laline Paull is a relevant and timely story that conveys an important message. It is surely a story that will stay with me.

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  srms.reads | Sep 4, 2023 |
I came across this unusual novel on the longlist for the 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

The novel is written from the perspective of various sea creatures including Ea, a spinner dolphin who cannot spin; Google, a captive military-trained bottlenose dolphin; a humpback whale; a humphead wrasse; and a remora which attaches itself to Ea. Disastrous events bring these characters together. Though there’s even a love-at-first-sight romance, the focus is on survival as marine lives are threatened “in this warm and fatal ocean filled with metal demons, who drank blood, spewed filth and whose song was sonic torture.” This is not the world of Flipper.

The purpose of the book is to draw attention to the damage humans are causing to the oceans and the marine life that calls them home. Reference is made to human activities like offshore drilling, over-fishing, and shark-finning. Humans are responsible for sound pollution, oil spills, ocean acidification, and toxic waste dumping. As a consequence, the entire marine ecosystem is being negatively affected: habitats are degraded, food webs damaged, and the health of sea animals threatened. There are detailed descriptions of bleached coral reefs (“all that was left of ancient coral cities was white ruin”) and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Sea Of Tamas).

In sections it seems as if the worst parts of humanity are replicated in bottlenose dolphins. Among their behaviours are examples of sexual assault, misogyny, drug usage, and violent power struggles. Is the message that humans have caused cetaceans to “fall into deep depressive states, or become randomly and violently aggressive”? They resort to abnormal behaviour in order to survive? (My husband and I have scheduled a dolphin-watching boat tour in the Sado Estuary in Portugal, but I’m now conflicted about the experience.)

Because there are so many characters, it is difficult to emotionally connect to all of them. The wrasse is a confusing character. I know that this fish can undergo a sex change and that seems to be what is happening at the end. Since such transformations are normal, what’s the big deal? It almost seems like the author wanted to include a transgender character? The remora, or suckerfish, is likewise confusing. At times he seems to serve as comic relief?

The message of the book is important. Just as no one wants to heed the warning song of the Rorqual, humans are also deniers, wanting to “continue to enjoy the bounty of life, refusing to worry.” Unfortunately, as imaginative as this novel is, it comes across as muddled and chaotic. The anthropomorphism doesn’t work for me.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
  Schatje | May 15, 2023 |
Laline Paull received rave reviews for her first book The Bees. Her third novel is Pod which tells the story of Ea, a spinner dolphin, and her self-imposed exodus from her pod following the death of her mother who was trying to save her daughter’s life. Adventures and forging of new friendships follow, including a brutal introduction to a new pod of bottlenose dolphins. It’s a story of family ties, tribal allegiances, bravery, cruelty, hierarchy, and discovery told in a most original way. As a fan of scuba diving and all things underwater, I engaged, cared and really enjoyed it. ( )
  davidroche | Oct 20, 2022 |
This book was really good :O)
Ea has always felt like the 'black sheep' (lol) of the Longi. She is a spinner dolphin & suffers from a kind od deafness that prevents her from spinning & this is what unites the pod. However when disaster strikes the pod, Ea knows she is partly to blame. She decides to make the ultimate sacrifice & leave the pod despite the many dangers she faces as a lone female dolphin. As she embarks into the vast by herself she encounters many dangers but then a chance encounter with an arrogant bunch of bottlenoses changes her life forever.
Like I said, I really enjoyed this book. It's very engaging & Laline Paull highlights quite a few issues dolphins and other marine life are facing today. I learnt quite a bit about dolphins too which was very interesting. A good, informative, very enjoyable read :O)
  leah152 | Jul 11, 2022 |
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An astonishing and immersive new novel, Pod takes the reader into the depths of the ocean-and into the world of its fascinating inhabitants-through the eyes of the beautiful Ea, a spinner dolphin. Laline Paull returns with an immersive and transformative new novel of an ocean world-its extraordinary creatures, mysteries, and mythologies-that is increasingly haunted by the cruelty and ignorance of the human race. Ea has always felt like an outsider. As a spinner dolphin who has recently come of age, she's now expected to join in the elaborate rituals that unite her pod. But Ea suffers from a type of deafness that prevents her from mastering the art of spinning. When catastrophe befalls her family and Ea knows she is partly to blame, she decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave the pod. As Ea ventures into the vast, she discovers dangers everywhere, from lurking predators to strange objects floating in the water. Not to mention the ocean itself seems to be changing; creatures are mutating, demonic noises pierce the depths, whole species of fish disappear into the sky above. Just as she is coming to terms with her solitude, a chance encounter with a group of arrogant bottlenoses will irrevocably alter the course of her life. In her terrifying, propulsive novel, Laline Paull explores the true meaning of family, belonging, sacrifice-the harmony and tragedy of the pod-within an ocean that is no longer the sanctuary it once was, and which reflects a world all too recognizable to our own.

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