Whale Fall

Whale Fall

Fiction & Poetry, Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Hardback Published on: 25/04/2024
RRP £14.99
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Bookseller Reviews

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Whale Fall
A quiet gasp of air on a cold Sunday morning
Thank you to the publisher for an advance copy of this book. A mesmerising, poignant debut about community, encroachment and nature. This book astounded... READ MORE
Chloë at Cheltenham Waterstones
Whale Fall
Beautiful and other worldly
Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy! This book is a fantastic peek into island life and the differences between it and living on the mainland... READ MORE
Sarah B
Whale Fall
An Art House Film in Book Form
A beautifully written debut. Set on a remote island off Wales, Manod’s way of life, and that of the other inhabitants, is becoming out of step with the res... READ MORE
Jen Mackay at Windsor
Whale Fall
Hauntingly beautiful
Author Elizabeth O”Connor has written a haunting story about a disappearing way of life set in an unforgiving locale, and the coming of age of a young woma... READ MORE
Anthony Simon at Coventry Waterstones
Whale Fall
This is a beautiful and stunning book with just amazing prose. Quietly delving into island life, obsessions with ‘authenticity’ and inter-war unease this i... READ MORE
Whale Fall
Elegantly written, beguiling.
Sensual and beguiling tale about community and nature set in the 1930s on the remote fishing island of the coast of Wales. Whereas the twelve remaining ... READ MORE
Magdalena  Janicka-Spencer


It is 1938 and for Manod, a young woman living on a remote island off the coast of Wales, the world looks ready to end just as she is trying to imagine a future for herself. The ominous appearance of a beached whale on the island's shore, and rumours of submarines circling beneath the waves, have villagers steeling themselves for what’s to come. Empty houses remind them of the men taken by the Great War, and of the difficulty of building a life in the island's harsh, salt-stung landscape.

When two anthropologists from the mainland arrive, Manod sees in them a rare moment of opportunity to leave the island and discover the life she has been searching for. But, as she guides them across the island’s cliffs, she becomes entangled in their relationship, and her imagined future begins to seem desperately out of reach.

Elizabeth O’Connor’s beautiful, devastating debut Whale Fall tells a story of longing and betrayal set against the backdrop of a world on the edge of great tumult.

  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • ISBN: 9781035024728
  • Number of pages: 224
  • Weight: 292g
  • Dimensions: 207 x 139 x 24 mm

Customer Reviews

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Whale Fall
Beautifully written and touching
This novel is so atmospheric, the scenery and environment described are vivid, beautiful, often desolate, and feel like an additional character in the stor... READ MORE
Lucy Williams
Whale Fall
Excellent debut – reminiscent of The Colony and Small Things Like These
This book featured in the 2024 version of the influential and frequently literary-prize-prescient annual Observer Best Debut Novelist feature (last year in... READ MORE
Graham Fulcher
Whale Fall
Beautifully written
Thank you to the publishers for this early review copy. This is a beautifully written debut which will certainly capture your heart. Fabulous main charac... READ MORE
Fiona Sharp
Whale Fall
Such a beautiful debut. The descriptions of the island and the daily life of the inhabitants is rendered so clearly and bewitchingly! A short story that pa... READ MORE
Matilda Gould
Whale Fall
A beautiful evocation of island life
What a beautiful evocation of life on a small Welsh island, the remoteness, the harsh living conditions, the struggle to make a living. Visitors arrive.... READ MORE
Irene Mitchell
Whale Fall
Wonderful setting
Beautiful writing for an evocative and almost old fashioned debut. Wonderful setting on a remote island immersed in nature and longing.
Chiara Cc
Whale Fall
Pinpoint precise prose
4.5 stars rounded up to 5. After reading this novella, I feel I need to ruminate on it. There are layers of meaning here explored with pinpoint precise ... READ MORE
Joanna Rawlins
Whale Fall
Hauntingly beautiful writing.
I feel that this novel seeped into my heart, led there by the main character Mabon. The author writes beautifully about Mabon, an 18 year old woman and ... READ MORE
Michelle Sichi
Whale Fall
Sublime. A beautiful and devastating tale told with a clarity and simplicity that belies the depth of the story.
Sublime. Elizabeth O’Connor is a supremely talented new writer and this book is just gorgeous. A simple story, told through the eyes of 18 year old Manod,... READ MORE
Whale Fall
A quiet, gentle telling of life on a small Welsh island in the 1930s, a paean of folklore and traditions. But the romanticisation of that life by a pair of... READ MORE
Whale Fall
A fine debut
Manod lives on a remote Welsh island. It is 1938, and though the spectre of global change may loom in the readers mind, it is global change of a different... READ MORE
Ben Dutton
Whale Fall
truly beautiful, captivating story
A whale is beached on a small Welsh island in 1938 marking a change for the locals, particularly Manod, a young woman who sees the bleakness of island life... READ MORE