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Not Forgetting the Whale by John Ironmonger

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A charming and startlingly different account of a city banker whose discovery so distresses him that he flees the high life for isolated Cornwall. The villagers embrace him and we learn of his fears as he attempts to prepare them for the pending disaster heading their way. Peopled with wonderful characters you become really attached to ,this is a perfect gem, well written and gently humorous. A lovely read and highly recommended.

If you like John Ironmonger you might also like to read books by Paul Torday, Marina Lewycka and Natasha Solomon.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. When Joe Haak is washed up naked on a beach in St Piran, Cornwall, along with a whale, the villagers rush to save him. Shortly afterwards, when he rallies the locals to help return the whale to the sea, they take him in as one of their own and Joe in turn embraces St Piran. What they didn’t know was that Joe was running away, searching for a safe haven. As we discover more about Joe’s past we find that a computer programme he had developed to predict global events on the stock market had also predicted a global catastrophe that Jo didn’t want to believe was correct. But then a global pandemic breaks out, and it appeared it was… Can the community work collectively to try to survive? In this post-apocalyptic gem, John Iron-monger captures the elements of human nature effortlessly, and heart-warmingly shows the power people working together can have, making this a joy to read.
~ Caroline White


Not Forgetting the Whale by John Ironmonger

When a young man washes up, naked, on the sands of St Piran in Cornwall, he is quickly rescued by the villagers. From the retired village doctor and the schoolteacher, to the beachcomber and the owner of the local bar, the priest's wife and the romantic novelist, they take this lost soul into their midst. But what the villagers don't know is that Joe Haak has fled the City of London fearing a worldwide collapse of civilisation, a collapse forecast by Cassie, a computer program he designed. But is the end of the world really nigh? Can Joe convince the village to seal itself off from the outside world? And what of the whale that lurks in the bay? Intimate, funny and deeply moving, Not Forgetting the Whale is the story of a man on a journey to find a place he can call home.

About the Author

John Ironmonger was born and grew up in East Africa. He has a doctorate in zoology, and was once an expert on freshwater leeches. He is the author of THE GOOD ZOO GUIDE and the novels, THE NOTABLE BRAIN OF MAXIMILIAN PONDER, which was shortlisted for the 2012 Costa First Novel Prize and the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize, and THE COINCIDENCE AUTHORITY. He was part of a world record team for speed reading Shakespeare, and once drove across the Sahara in a GBP100 banger. He lives in rural Shropshire with his wife, Sue, and has two grown-up children. @jwironmonger

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


John Ironmonger

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Literary Fiction
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