In The Whale People, young Atlin must one day succeed his father Nit-gass, a great whaling chief of the Hotsath people. The boy trains for his role with the mixture of yearning and apprehension experienced by every youth racing toward adulthood - except that in Atlin's case, his whole community is depending on his success.
With lean, sure-footed prose, Haig-Brown captures the tangled emotions of adolescence, and in the process conveys a vivid portrait of pre-Columbian life on the West Coast. Never preachy or condescending, The Whale People is richly furnished with the material and spiritual mainstays of its characters: canoes, harpoons, animals and "tumanos," the personal magic a great whaler and leader must possess.
"Timeless" is a term too freely bandied about, but seldom has a story so deftly married the moment with the millennia. Written 40 years ago - it was named Book of the Year for Children by the Canadian Library Association in 1964 - it could be set 400 years ago, yet there is not one quaint or dated sentence in it.
About the Author
Roderick Haig-Brown (1908-1976) remains one of North America's most popular and best-loved writers about the outdoors. He was born in England and settled in Campbell River, BC, in 1931. He was a dedicated conservationist and a prolific writer, author of many articles and stories and 25 books, including novels, books about sport fishing and stories for young readers, including the classic Saltwater Summer. Haig-Brown also served as a magistrate and as chancellor of the University of Victoria.