• The Museum of Whales You Will Never See

  • And Other Excursions to Iceland's Most Unusual Museums
  • By: A. Kendra Greene
  • Narrated by: A. Kendra Greene
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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The Museum of Whales You Will Never See  By  cover art

The Museum of Whales You Will Never See

By: A. Kendra Greene
Narrated by: A. Kendra Greene
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Publisher's Summary

Mythic creatures, natural wonders, and the mysterious human impulse to collect are on beguiling display in this poetic tribute to the museums of an otherworldly island nation.

Iceland is home to only 330,000 people (roughly the population of Lexington, Kentucky) but more than 265 museums and public collections - nearly one for every 10 people. They range from the intensely physical, like the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which collects the penises of every mammal known to exist in Iceland, to the vaporously metaphysical, like the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, which poses a particularly Icelandic problem: how to display what can't be seen? 

In The Museum of Whales You Will Never See, A. Kendra Greene is our wise and whimsical guide through this cabinet of curiosities, showing us, in dreamlike anecdotes, how a seemingly random assortment of objects - a stuffed whooper swan, a rubber boot, a shard of obsidian, a chastity belt for rams - can map a people's past and future, their fears and obsessions. "The world is chockablock with untold wonders", she writes, "there for the taking, ready to be uncovered at any moment, if only we keep our eyes open."

©2020 A. Kendra Greene (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Unseen treasures are hidden in the corners of Iceland - and inside this book. Glittering with whimsy and speckled with small drawings, The Museum of Whales provides a much-needed detour to a place most of us won’t ever get to see." (Newsweek)

"A delightful one-of-a-kind journey.... Insightful.... Greene turns what easily could have become a mere cabinet of curiosities into a thoughtful and complex work.... Almost as hard to classify as it would be not to enjoy, Greene's expertly assembled blend of travel writing, history, museum studies, and memoir proves as memorable as any museum exhibition." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"A beguiling and witty assessment of a country's obsessive urge to curate.... There's an air of Italo Calvino's fantastical Invisible Cities wafting its way throughout." (Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about The Museum of Whales You Will Never See

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Beautiful Performance

The storytelling was poetic, and the concept was interesting. It was a love letter to Iceland. I really do have to admit, though, I was not expecting an hour and 20 minutes about the phalalogical museum. It wasn't graphic, but rather, matter of fact, but it was surprising none the less.