This is an astonishing and beautiful book. It exudes Susan Richardson’s passion for our fellow creatures, and particularly for the pinnipeds who frequent the waters around the UK. The seal narrative is intertwined with, and enhanced by, the parallel story of Susan’s family, a story that deals openly with the challenges faced by the author as she strives to balance her seal research alongside her father’s health-related needs. This seamless interweaving of the parallel narratives is perhaps one of the many features that makes this book unusual, authentic and compelling.
The seal revelations and theories shared by Susan must surely be of huge practical and educational value in the complex but vital sea of conservation. These discoveries, gleaned from the author’s travels around the shores of Wales, England, Scotland and the Isle of Man, are presented in a way that enables the reader not only to appreciate the magnificence of the seals themselves, but also to encounter afresh the many human-induced dangers faced by these threatened mammals. The author’s quest to find out more about the mysterious seal, not least its extraordinary ‘singing’, is inextricably linked to her animal-activist mission to bring about positive change.
As someone who has been entranced not only by the otherworldly song of the seals, but also by the author’s skilful dexterity as a poet, Where the Seals Sing fascinated me from the outset. I delighted in the Pembrokeshire seal-watching cameos and the small but memorable details of the natural world, such as the fragrance of the Elderflowers encountered along the coast. The sections on music and mythology were intriguing. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the reports of cruelty, pollution and plastic were often devastating. I was totally captivated by Susan’s engaging affection for, and whole-hearted dedication to, her Grey Seal subjects. I would love to think that some of her zeal and practical actions might inspire us all to play our part in these uncertain ecological times.
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Author: Susan Richardson
Publisher: HarperCollins (imprint: William Collins, 7 July 2022)
ISBN 10: 0008404542