Whale Music

Paul Quarrington

Whale Music

Iconic rock star Desmond Howell has withdrawn from the world after his brother's death and lives on whiskey, drugs and doughnuts. But music still has a hold on him, and he finds himself composing symphonies for whales that migrate to the waters near his beachfront home. That's when a mysterious woman enters his life and changes everything. Paul Quarrington's Whale Music is a hilarious, big-hearted exploration of the creative soul and the tension between art and commerce.

Whale Music won the 1989 Governor General's Award for fiction.


"There is a toe sticking out from underneath a green blanket on my living-room sofa. A lovely toe, a pale dainty toe. A toe that has never tested dirty bathwater. I am fond of pretty toes like this, because my own are so ugly. My big toes are huge and flat like ping-pong paddles. The rest are deformed midget toes, little squirmy grub toes. The nails are hard and horny and for some reason have turned bright yellow."

From Whale Music by Paul Quarrington ©1987. Published by Vintage Canada.