The Whole Singing Ocean
Publisher: Nightwood Editions
The Whole Singing Ocean is a poetic narrative that circles around the central story of a boy and a whale, and the 2013 investigation into the École en bateau, a French countercultural “boat school,” or school at sea, which was based not only on the ideals of the sixties, but also on twisted ideas about child psychology, the theories of Foucault and an abolition of the separation between adults and children.
The narrative begins with a boat builder and his encounter with a whale when he was a student of the École en bateau himself, and moves on to explore threads of philosophy, memory and various kinds of destruction, fragmentation and wholeness. The text weaves in several voices and threads of rapture and horror, as it explores adventure, childhood, abuse and environmental degradation.
This work becomes a self-conscious documentation of the boat builder’s story as it unfolds, and as the narrator learns more of what happened and uncovers echoes from her own life and family history. Her discoveries cause the narrative to take some unexpected, and at times resisted, turns. Themes of memory and trauma, reliability and unreliability, binaries and magic, and the question of how to hold two very different things at once, are at the heart of this book.