Whale Song: A Novel by Cheryl Kaye TardifWhale Song: A Novel by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Whale Song: A Novel

byCheryl Kaye Tardif

Paperback | April 1, 2007

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Based on native legends of killer whales and wolves, this haunting tale of change and choice sensitively explores issues of the right to die, integrating the optimistic spiritualism of native myth and the hard realities of modern-day life. This beautiful story, told in flashback, straddles the genres of mystery and family drama, as the only witness to a tragedy loses her memory and an innocent person may be in prison for the crime, posing the difficult question Which is the higher morality—love or law? This special edition includes new scenes from the author's screenplay.
Cheryl Kaye Tardif is the author of Divine Intervention and The River, as well as a published poet and scriptwriter of public service announcements. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta.
Title:Whale Song: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.52 inPublished:April 1, 2007Publisher:Kunati Inc.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1601640072

ISBN - 13:9781601640079


Rated 5 out of 5 by from For Anyone Young or Young At Heart... I found this book spiritual, mystical and very sweet. Cheryl Kaye Tardif writes like the flow of a river. I was transported to this tiny island in Canada and felt life I had also grown up there. Some people will say that since it is focused on a young girl coming of age, men/boys may not relate to it... this is absolutely false... anyone who is young or young at heart will love this book. I plan on buying copies for many of my friends and family this December. It will forever hold a small place in my heart.
Date published: 2010-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cheryl Kaye Tardif, you are an inspiration! Anyone who has heard the haunting sound of a whale's song will never forget it. So it is with this story, mystical, honest, haunting and wonderful. So emotional in fact, that I am writing this review while my eyes are still damp with tears. Tears of joy, tears of sorrow, and a great feeling of enlightenment and belonging. The rich blend of lifestyles from the prairies of Wyoming to Vancouver Island's rugged west coast in British Columbia, both very remote, brings together a family who have never seen an ocean to the very shores in their new home, and a traditional indian family whose roots go back many hundreds of years. The area around Bamfield is largely populated by the Huu-ay-aht Tribe and the warmth of the people represented in this novel is passed on to us in a way that feels personal. Cheryl Kaye Tardif, you moved me. I read this straight through without setting it down once. The story begins with Sarah, an eleven year old girl, learning that her marine-biologist father has been offered an opportunity he can't refuse, nor wants to, to live and work near Bamfield for a couple of years. His artist wife, well-known for her paintings of the plains will have the opportunity to paint different scenes in their new home. Sarah of course does not want to move, her best friend is here in Wyoming. However, at eleven one has little in the way of choices. But Sarah has no idea how much her new home will change her life. Though well-populated with many full-fledged characters, this is really Sarah's story. If I take nothing more away with me from reading this book, these three alone were worth the read: live life fully; "forgiveness will set you free"; know when to let go. Of course I loved many things about this book, and it deals with many subjects that afflict peoples lives today. [On a personal note, I mean no disrespect when I refer to our native people as indian. As a Chief once told my husband when he asked what he wanted him to call him, he said to call him an indian, the government made him an indian when they created the legislation in the 1800s, and they call themselves indian because why should they keep changing names, because someone tells them to?]* Very soon after arriving at their new rural home, Sarah meets Goldie, her neighbor who is indian and also eleven. They become the best of friends and very soon both families become as close as non-family can be. Goldie's grandmother Nana, regales the girls with many legends, and yet it seems that she is tapping into something that Sarah is thinking or troubled about. I know, you are wondering about the whales. Sarah had been warned by her parents never to swim past the float because a young boy had tried to swim to the nearby island the year before and drowned. Sarah soon hears from Goldie that she believes her brother is now an Orca (Killer Whale) and swims nearby so she can talk to him. Nana narrates the legend to the girls later and Sarah then understands what Goldie was talking about. Sarah's mother and Nana have also become good friends, and incorporating something of the legends in her newer paintings have given her even more notice for the mystic quality they present. When school starts, the girls find they are in the same classroom, and sit next to each other. But trouble brews for Sarah in a case of racism and bullying all through the first year. All is not terror for her though, as she becomes popular among her classmates and has also caught the eye of a popular young boy Adam, causing her to giggle and blush every time he looks at her. Goldie tells her he is part Haida, part white. A field trip on the boat Sarah's father does his research on brings a great windup to the school year. They are all mesmerized by the sounds of both fish and whales after Sarah's father drops the echolocation microphone into the water and turns the volume up so all can hear. Adam in particular looks toward his future as he learns as much as he can from Sarah's father. The book takes place over approximately 13-14 years and there is so much to tell, but I will not plant spoilers. I have left a large part of the book undiscussed. Let me just say that this is one book I am thrilled to have had the opportunity not only to read, but to feel. It is as though I was dropped into the mind of Sarah and existing within these pages myself, feeling every emotion. Cheryl Kaye Tardif, you are an inspiration! The version I am reviewing is an ebook, and is more recent than the original printed book (I chose the pdf file and printed it because I don't have a reader). This book should be read by everyone, perhaps a little too sad in places for young children but definitely for 12+ because some of the lessons learned, almost by absorption, are particularly applicable to that age group. For the rest of us, we are never too old to learn something new, and sometimes you can go home again.* *reference to legislation is Canadian
Date published: 2010-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magically Enchanting! Sara starts off as an eleven year old girl who lives with her parents, Jack and Daniella. Jack is a marine biologist, fascinated with his work of studying marine creatures while Daniella is a talented painter. They move from their cozy ranch in Wyoming to Vancouver Island to make it easier for Jack to study the animals at a closer view. Being the new kid in school, she makes a new best friend, Goldie Dixon, an Indian girl. Sara and Goldie spend most of their time playing together and listening to Nana's Nootka legends. But with friends also comes ennemies. Annie has been bullying Sara from the first day she came. But that does not last for long. Months go by and all is well...until her mother falls gravely ill. At first, the doctors do not know the cause for her to faint so suddenly...Tests after tests and night spent in the hospital, that she has PPH. Daniella quickly recuperates and goes on with painting and supporting Sara, until it happens again but this time, Daniella ends up spending most of her days in the hospital....READ THE BOOK TO FIND OUT MORE..... WHALE SONG is a wonderful story written with a passion for family love and lots of spiritualism. Sometimes, if you have an extra belief, it helps to understand things more...to moralise for the better choices in life. WHALE SONG demonstrates just that. I LOVED THIS BOOK for the reason because there is simply many life lessons that teach the consequences and advantages for each situation. WHALE SONG is simply a compelling, magically enchanting story that SHOULD be made into MOVIE. If it were to be that case, then I wouls defentely be the first to see it. Afterall, the book is a read that I could barely put down and that has been read more than once.
Date published: 2008-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bravo for Whale Song Journey through time with Sarah Richardson of Whale Song and you will find her accepting voice, telling the mystical and poignant tale of her family's past, will spell you. Reminiscent of youth's sweetness, Whale Song confronts the truth of that treasure's fragility, upon varying paths, with uncomplicated and graceful ease. What can one do when forced to live through tragedy? When adult thoughts and responsibility find themselves within the hands of a child? It is easy to forget... but to forgive... 'Bravo' to Cheryl Kaye Tardif for Whale Song.
Date published: 2008-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "Absolutely Wonderful" The story of Sarah Richardson is a journey of wonder, friendships, happiness, sadness, loss and love. It will keep you reading from cover to cover. Cheryl Tardiff's writing is captivating and I look forward to reading more of her novels.
Date published: 2008-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Bigger issues Lurk Under the Surface A gem of a novel, I especially loved all the Nootka and Haida Indian lore and how it connected to Sarah. For the most part, this novel takes place during Sarah's adolescence giving it a distinctive multi age group appeal. Though it may be classed as YA, I’d have no problem recommending this book to my 11yo niece, sister, mother or grandmother. With its killer whales and interwoven Indian legends, I think even adolescent boys would find this book of interest. Catalytic change brings moral dilemma; the choices made and consequences suffered give this book even greater depth of character. I hope that the movie is made with the whole family in mind. If so, I believe Cheryl Kaye Tardif's "heart book", has the potential to be every bit as brilliant as the award winning, “Whale Rider”.
Date published: 2008-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful Read A book that would appeal to all age groups and all genders. The book caught you from the beginning and never let you go. The characters were wonderful and very human. Absolutely loved this book. Thank you, Cheryl, for a wonderful story. Ursula Hindle
Date published: 2008-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A moving, well-written novel "Whale Song" is a poignant tale that asks difficult questions - ones that challenge us to look deep into our own hearts. This touching novel is about Sarah, a young girl who feels she has been uprooted from her home and friends, and moves, with her family, to an entirely different country. It's a story about that family that loves her so very much, and it's about her new friends. "Whale Song" is a novel about the difficult choices and sacrifices that have to be made by them all. Taking place on Canada's breathtaking Vancouver Island, the setting, with its hauntingly beautiful killer whales and other wildlife, is as unforgettable as the story itself. This is Ms Tardif's "heart book" - the book closest to her heart - and after reading it, it's easy to see why. Another "must-read" by Canadian author Cheryl Kaye Tardif.
Date published: 2008-06-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from sad song I liked this book, but it was very depressing. It tells the story of Sarah, whose parents move her to an island in BC where she learns to appreciate the native culture, and the songs of the whales. The unthinkable happens, and we watch young Sarah grow up very quickly.
Date published: 2008-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Don't read the description above! But read this book! I liked this book and will write a review but I made the mistake of looking up the book here before I read it. My book jacket didn't tell me the plot of the book - it was really just recommendations about the book and the character. Then I look it up here and find out lots of things about the book that I didn't want to know before I read it. I would consider the information above to be a total spoiler (if something doesn't happen until at least halfway through the book you should imagine that I don't want to hear about it!) and didn't enhance the experience. I was unhappy about that. Okay - consider the rant over. What did I feel about the book? It was quite delightful. It had a lyrical style that reminded me of the ocean and whales that were a theme throughout the book. While the book was set in the late 1970s (for the first half any how) it didn't feel old. Modern day kids would relate to it without a hesitation. While it looked at a lot of different issues (racism, abuse, and others I don't want to mention in case I'm accused of being a spoiler!) it didn't become an issue book - it was about the characters and the journey they take.
Date published: 2008-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Wonderful Book! Whale Song is the first book I have read by Canadian author Cheryl Kaye Tardif. But it certainly won’t be my last! I loved this book! It was wonderfully easy to read and had such believable characters that your heart ached along with them throughout the story. A new life on the west coast of Canada bring adventures to young Sarah. I could easily relate to Sarah’s character as a young girl growing up in Canada. The connection to the ocean and the theme of the whales throughout the book made a wonderful ebb and flow to the story. The feeling of loss in the book is profound which Tardif is able to convey through her perfect choice of words. While the story contains several losses, there is also a wonderful message to the book. By the time I had put the book down, I found myself examining some choices in my own life where forgiveness has been denied. This is a Canadian author who should be added to everyone’s Author to Watch list! I can’t wait to read another of Tardif’s books!
Date published: 2008-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truely Wonderful I couldn't put this book down. One of the truest "forgiveness" book I have read. Wonderful characters, love the native lore and sense of community shown by the people.
Date published: 2008-02-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful! A touching story about life and heartbreak set against the backdrop of Canada's native people. Tardif's storytelling pulls you into the life of young Sarah and her family- taking you on a journey of pain and discovery. As Sarah and her family are transplanted from the USA to Canada, Sarah feels her world is coming apart. But she meets new friends and begins to like her new life. Just as she is feeling settled, life throws another curve ball, one that threatens to take away all the people she loves. The story sees Sarah struggle with forgiveness and the very real pain of loss as she grows from a young child to a young woman. Tardif has created heart-warming scenes and paired them with heartbreak and then followed the journey that emerges. Well worth reading!
Date published: 2007-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating Story Captivating story w/ complex characters covering a lot of issues in a beautiful natural setting . Told through the perspective of 11-yr-old Sarah. Sarah leaves her home in Wyoming when her father is transferred to Vancouver Island. He is a marine biolgist & has a great offer to study the whales in the area. Sarah leaves behind her best friend and everything she knew but discovers a new life. Some hard challenges -- adjusting to being "the white girl" in a small community of mostly Nootka Indians, experiencing the new school and bullying. At the same time she is welcomed by her neighbors Goldie and Nana and learns their native spiritual ways, makes a new best friend and finds a way to understand and forgive Annie, the bully. A few years later the ultimate tragedy -- the death of her mother, altho' terminally ill, the end may not have been natural. Sarah is very bitter and detached for years after this loss but through her family of friends she eventually finds redemption.
Date published: 2007-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spiritual and Emotioral So many deep streams have influenced this lovely novel: Judy Blume's ear for the desperate seeking of adolescence, Garth Stein's sense of the texture and mythos of the Northwest Coast of the US. But past the influences,there's a pervasive spirituality that runs through this book. It's message is one of reconciliation and forgiveness. It underlies the questions of adolescent autonomy and the right to determine the end one's life. It is much deeper than the issues of bullying and fitting in and first love that occupy and pre-occupy so many YA novels. There are charming characters here: you might be able to forget Sarah the narrator, but youwill never forget Nana, her spiritual mentor. And you will certainly remember the wolf and the whale who form the core of this story. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2007-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It was SUPER Impossible to put down, Whale Song is a book that goes through you while you go through it. Life seen through the eyes of young Sarah Richardson is by turn tragic and magical as she moves to a new home on Vancouver Island. This book drew me in so much that I wanted to move into the house with this family and be part of their story. The raw life that Sarah experiences there is exquisitely influenced by the sanity of the Nootka culture, the unpredictability of the ocean and the ebb and flow of being human. Thanks for this book Cheryl. I can’t wait for my daughter to read it.
Date published: 2007-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a very enjoyable read Whale Song is a beautiful book. I couldn't put it down once I started it. I've read her other books and am waiting for her next one. I've given them to my grandaughters to read and they agree Whale Song is a riveting book. Cheryl is a very talented story teller.
Date published: 2007-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Rivetting you won't be able to put this one down Whale Song was the novel that got me wanting to read more of Cheryl's work. She is a wonderful writer that does in depth research in order to create believable characters and locations. Whale Song is a wonderful story that I was unable to put down because of the Native folklore and the mystery contained within. If you enjoy a good read I definitely recommend this one for your collection.
Date published: 2007-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I HEAR A SONG AND IT'S BEAUTIFUL When a movie gets made of Whale Song … and it will … I won’t be surprised if the character of Sarah has a halo over her head the whole movie. This is a deeply stirring novel … and one that will prove Cheryl Kaye Tardif is now one of the finest Canadian novelists … if not one of the most sentimental and observant human beings. Be ready to be moved. And be ready to hear what nature says to us … will you? … then become a better human. ——Todd Sentell, author of Toonamint of Champions: How LaJuanita Mumps Got to Join Augusta National Golf Club Real Easy
Date published: 2007-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "Absolutely Great!" I just got this book from my friend Molly Warring who is also a writer she told me how great it was...well it sure is! Take time because you won't be able to put this one down. I read it all in one sitting. Well the story leaves you thinking about how we should forgive the ones we love and to open our hearts and the importance of the love of your family and friendship in your life. Read this book you will not be disappointed.
Date published: 2007-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspirational When Cheryl Tardif's publisher invited me to read Whale Song, I admit to beginning with a certain amount of trepidation. After all, the novel is YA, aimed at young female readers, and I'm 66 and male. Talk about polar opposites. I'm so glad I didn't let those things deter me. Cheryl Tardif is wonderfully talented. Her prose is clean, so economical I found the act of reading esthetically pleasing in and of itself. And yes, just as you would suspect, beneath this technically superior surface lurks a story of great intensity, passion, and drama. There is much more to Whale Song than smooth writing. Even though the outcome is foretold in various chapter endings, the story still hooked me, pulled me ever forward, toward the fateful conclusion. It's a book about life and death. I loved it. Recommended for anyone who can remember the pain of adolescence. To those of you who are there now, Whale Song might make the journey a little easier. For those who can only remember, Whale Song will bring a tear to your eye and make you wish you could go back and do it all again, no matter how hard your own journey was.
Date published: 2007-04-16

From the Author

This is my 'heart book'--a story with meaning and impact. I hope you love reading it as much as I loved writing it! ~CKT

Editorial Reviews

"A tough act to follow for any written genre."  —Fresh Fiction