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The eloquence of the sardine


Bill François’ ‘The Eloquence of the Sardine’ is a charming narrative nonfiction book about the secret lives of fishes. If we listen to the ocean, what do we hear? What can it teach us? How can it change us? Written by a marine scientist (and winner of French eloquence competitions), this work of narrative non-fiction blends Bill François’ personal story with that of sea creatures to create an original and exciting work.

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SKU: 9781472134059 Category: Tag:


Humans have identified just a fraction of the 2.2 million species living in the sea. Roughly 91% of all marine species remain unknown: myths still to be written, discoveries still to be made, blank pages with room to dream . . .

As a small boy, Bill François was frightened of deep water. Until a chance encounter with the elusive sardine set him on course for a life in marine science: a mission to better understand, and preserve, the underwater world, to find his place in that ecosystem and learn how to converse harmoniously with the ocean.

In a series of exquisitely rendered vignettes of marine life, Fran̤ois invites us on a whistle-stop global tour to reveal the mysteries of the sea, beginning with the simple eloquence of the sardine. He unpicks the sound of the sea Рan underwater symphony orchestra voiced by a choir of fish Рand deciphers the latest scientific discoveries on the immunity of coral and the changing gender of wrasses. We visit the depths of underwater Paris as Fran̤ois delves into the mysterious world of the eel and explore an extraordinary three-generational friendship between humans and killer whales, and the role a shoal of herrings played in Cold War tensions.

Throughout, Fran̤ois effortlessly brings the inner workings of fish to life Рtheir language, their emotions, their societal rituals. He also makes a case for why we should look to the sea for inspiration for improving society and investigates the shocking journey from sea to plate.

Drawing on history, myth and legend, but always grounded in science, The Eloquence of the Sardine will change the way you think about the sea in the most poetic of ways.

Additional information

Weight 0.19 kg
Dimensions 19.6 × 12.6 × 2.6 cm










578.77 (edition:23)


College – higher education / Code: F