The Illustration Room

Rush Oh! Illustrations by Matt Canning

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By Shirley Barrett. Illustrations by Matt Canning. Published by Picador, Pan Macmillan Australia.

When Mary Davidson, the eldest daughter of a whaling family in Eden, New South Wales, sets out to chronicle the particularly difficult season of 1908, the story she tells is poignant and hilarious, filled with drama and misadventure. It’s a season marked not only by the sparsity of whales and the vagaries of weather, but also by the arrival of John Beck, an itinerant whale man with a murky past, on whom Mary promptly develops an all-consuming crush. But hers is not the only romance to blossom amidst the blubber…

Rush Oh! is a celebration of an extraordinary episode in Australian history, when a family of whalers formed a fond, unique allegiance with a pod of frisky Killer whales – and in particular, a Killer whale named Tom.

(Edited from Pan Macmillan)