A book that touches upon many sentiments at a time. Compassion, friendship, parenting, loneliness, and the pain of a farewell. And it has cats, even if in a casual and effortless presence that makes it all the more endearing!
The Storm Whale by Benji Davies is a tale of a boy named Noi who lives with his father, and six cats, by the ocean. Told in an illustration style and colour palette as gentle as the story .
I won’t be surprised (or judge) if you tried to locate all six cats on that page!
Of all scenes that depict longing, this has to be one of the more powerful ones. Longing has a disturbing calm about it. And a silence that begs to be interrupted.
Noi’s predictable days are broken with an incident of a storm, that left something small yet significant to be discovered.
It left a realisation to be discovered. For Noi’s dad.
Being parents is tough. Doing so single-handedly, tougher.It takes immense maturity to read into a child’s doings (or misdoings) and address it with patience and love, than to react impulsively. Children say more in what they do, than what they put in words.
What about adults? Knowledge of words has nothing to do with the ability to express.
Noi’s dad realises Noi is lonely.
And we realise the same about Noi’s dad.
Farewells will never be easy. But when it’s the only thing to do? Company helps.
While Noi remembers his whale friend fondly, there is a silent testimony of his dad’s resolve to keep his son more company than he used to. In that special way that only love can, which needs no words. Like, say, at the breakfast table.
“Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.”
– Carl Jung