The Museum of Whales You Will Never See by A. Kendra Greene audiobook

The Museum of Whales You Will Never See: And Other Excursions to Iceland's Most Unusual Museums

By A. Kendra Greene
Read by A. Kendra Greene

Penguin Audio
7.83 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9780593295007

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Mythic creatures, natural wonders, and the mysterious human impulse to collect are on beguiling display in this poetic tribute to the museums of an otherworldly island nation. Iceland is home to only 330,000 people (roughly the population of Lexington, Kentucky) but more than 265 museums and public collections--nearly one for every ten people. They range from the intensely physical, like the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which collects the penises of every mammal known to exist in Iceland, to the vaporously metaphysical, like the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, which poses a particularly Icelandic problem: How to display what can't be seen? In The Museum of Whales You Will Never See, A. Kendra Greene is our wise and whimsical guide through this cabinet of curiosities, showing us, in dreamlike anecdotes, how a seemingly random assortment of objects--a stuffed whooper swan, a rubber boot, a shard of obsidian, a chastity belt for rams--can map a people's past and future, their fears and obsessions. "The world is chockablock with untold wonders," she writes, "there for the taking, ready to be uncovered at any moment, if only we keep our eyes open."

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Summary

Summary

Mythic creatures, natural wonders, and the mysterious human impulse to collect are on beguiling display in this poetic tribute to the museums of an otherworldly island nation. Iceland is home to only 330,000 people (roughly the population of Lexington, Kentucky) but more than 265 museums and public collections--nearly one for every ten people. They range from the intensely physical, like the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which collects the penises of every mammal known to exist in Iceland, to the vaporously metaphysical, like the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, which poses a particularly Icelandic problem: How to display what can't be seen? In The Museum of Whales You Will Never See, A. Kendra Greene is our wise and whimsical guide through this cabinet of curiosities, showing us, in dreamlike anecdotes, how a seemingly random assortment of objects--a stuffed whooper swan, a rubber boot, a shard of obsidian, a chastity belt for rams--can map a people's past and future, their fears and obsessions. "The world is chockablock with untold wonders," she writes, "there for the taking, ready to be uncovered at any moment, if only we keep our eyes open."

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

So attentive and meticulous and compassionate a voice, a touch, that every light and feathery (avian, human) thing here gathered—into this curatorial piece about our curatorial passions, about having, naming, meaning—seems pristine in all its qualities, unaltered in the handling, in the open palm presenting it. Greene knows to hold it out a bit, away from her, into the cold Icelandic air, to let the subtler meanings of the thing escape the thing, extend the taxonomic thing beyond itself. David Searcy, author of Shame and Wonder
Greene’s voice is probing and hilarious; her sentences are vivacious and wild. This is the gold standard by which all future essays about Icelandic penis museums will be measured. Elena Passarello, author of Animals Strike Curious Poses
A masterpiece. By way of exploring the many humble, arguably eccentric museums of Iceland, Greene gives us a portrait of humanity that is quietly, cumulatively thrilling, as startling in its many revelations as the collections and collectors she portrays. Greene is the best kind of guide: funny, probing, generous of mind and heart, fully alive to the essential human yearning expressed in these miraculous little museums. Read this book. You will be happier, and richer in spirit, for it. Ben Fountain, bestselling author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk  
So damn good . . . with a dry humor, a brisk intelligence, and carefully curated prose. Kerri Arsenault, Lit Hub
Like a dream both feverish and freezing, The Museum of Whales You Will Never See works on the reader elementally. As the sentences unspool their disarming lyricism, carrying with them the flotsam and jetsam of strange fact and stranger interpretation, Greene allows delight to converse with revulsion, incantation with nightmare, tradition with oddity. Matthew Gavin Frank, author of Preparing the Ghost
Kendra Greene has brought together so much of what makes good storytelling: the compelling and untrammeled subject of museums, the dark mystery of human motivation, and the eviction of the quiet, unbidden black island we call Iceland. This is a book that opens a pathway into the depth and variegated distances of the human heart, enriching the experience we call: to be alive. Kurt Caswell, author of Getting to Grey Owl
The setting may be Iceland, but Greene’s brilliant prose—by turns funny and powerfully poetic—explores a much more universal human instinct to collect and save. This is a book about our imagination’s ability to see what is not there—to pull mythic tales from real things and to find truth in our missing pieces. A beautiful, buoyant read. Christine Coulson, author of Metropolitan Stories
“Kendra Greene understands that a museum can itself be an obsessive work of art, the long fuse of a fever dream that must be shared. And share she does, her wit and deep curiosity casting sparks across every page. Philip Graham, author of The Moon, Come to Earth: Dispatches from Lisbon
“A delightful, lyrical tribute to those who gather, record, and preserve. This is a book brought to life by its own subject matter: by curiosity, obsession, and the desire to share with others our own sense of wonder. Malachy Tallack, author of The Un-Discovered Islands
A joy to read. A. Kendra Greene has found a fascinating mode of storytelling. . . . The Museum of Whales You Will Never See is an engaging collection that was undoubtedly more interesting than any museum I have ever been to—it is like a museum of museums. . . . A love letter to the Icelandic culture, and the fleeting nature of its many stories. Devyn Carmen, Superstition Review
A poetic look at the country’s museums. Library Journal
An engaging travelogue . . . A museum of museums . . . A provocation to reflect upon the essential nature of the museum, an inquiry that feels exceptionally pertinent as museums around the world try to define what they do in this moment of isolation . . . Greene’s enthusiastic prose would guide any visitors to Iceland well. The Dallas Morning News
Delightful . . . Fascinating . . . Dreamy and disorienting in the best way . . . Greene is a deft and skillful writer. . . . [She] makes for a charming guide, a literary traveler in the spirit of Bruce Chatwin. Minneapolis Star Tribune
Lyrical and offbeat . . . Greene is adept at extrapolating meaning from oddities and a sense of wonder from the family histories contained within the walls of small museums. . . . What Greene’s book achieves most of all is revealing the passions and the obsessions of the people behind the museums we so love to visit. The New York Times
As much a fanciful literary experiment as a sober-minded overview of the Icelandic museum scene. Its delightful eccentricities . . . deliver a ton of solid information on Icelandic history and the Icelandic spirit. . . . Greene’s heady, lyrical, elliptical prose digs deep into the human urge to collect things. The book also delivers deep formal pleasures. The Boston Globe
A rollicking trip through [Iceland’s] museums filled with the mythic, the marvelous, and the eccentric . . . Greene is a splendid guide with a playful voiceimagine Hermes writing with whimsy and charmand . . . reveal[s] the extraordinary in the ordinary. This amusing, searching collection of essays, threaded with Greene’s rangy curiosity, is an ode to the joys and rewards of paying attention. Garnette Cadogan, Lit Hub
A beguiling and witty assessment of a country’s obsessive urge to curate . . . There’s an air of Italo Calvino’s fantastical Invisible Cities wafting its way throughout. Kirkus Reviews
A delightful one-of-a-kind journey . . . Insightful . . . Greene turns what easily could have become a mere cabinet of curiosities into a thoughtful and complex work. . . . Almost as hard to classify as it would be not to enjoy, Greene’s expertly assembled blend of travel writing, history, museum studies, and memoir proves as memorable as any museum exhibition. Publishers Weekly, starred review
Tremendously engaging . . . A thoroughly surprising book on a completely unexpected topic that will fill readers with joyful literary appreciation . . . Greene [is] a creative and eloquent twenty-first-century cultural explorer. . . . With an ear for stories and an eye for delight, [she] has crafted a chronicle that shines with wit and warms with compassion. . . . A gleaming gem of intelligent writing and an exuberant travelogue. Booklist, starred review
Unseen treasures are hidden in the corners of Iceland—and inside this book. Glittering with whimsy and speckled with small drawings, The Museum of Whales provides a much-needed detour to a place most of us won’t ever get to see. Newsweek

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: A. Kendra Greene

Author Bio: A. Kendra Greene

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Category: Nonfiction/Travel
Runtime: 7.83
Audience: Adult
Language: English