The Museum of Whales You Will Never See: And Other Excursions to Iceland's Most Unusual Museums

Backorder (temporarily out of stock)
21,000+ Reviews has the highest-rated customer service of any bookstore in the world
Product Details
$22.00  $20.46
Penguin Books
Publish Date
4.9 X 8.3 X 0.9 inches | 0.7 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author
A. Kendra Greene is a writer and artist who has worked at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Chicago History Museum, the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Dallas Museum of Art, where she was a writer in residence. She has an MFA in nonfiction and a graduate certificate in book arts from the University of Iowa and has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Program, Macdowell, Yaddo, and Harvard's Library Innovation Lab. Based in Dallas, she holds the University of Texas and Texas Institute of Letters 2022 Ralph A. Johnston Memorial Fellowship at Dobie Paisano.
"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

"A masterpiece. By way of exploring the many humble, arguably eccentric museums of Iceland, Greene gives us a portrait of humanity that is quietly, cumulatively thrilling, as startling in its many revelations as the collections and collectors she portrays. Greene is the best kind of guide: funny, probing, generous of mind and heart, fully alive to the essential human yearning expressed in these miraculous little museums. Read this book. You will be happier, and richer in spirit, for it." --Ben Fountain, bestselling author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

"Greene's voice is probing and hilarious; her sentences are vivacious and wild. This is the gold standard by which all future essays about Icelandic penis museums will be measured." --Elena Passarello, author of Animals Strike Curious Poses

"So attentive and meticulous and compassionate a voice, a touch, that every light and feathery (avian, human) thing here gathered--into this curatorial piece about our curatorial passions, about having, naming, meaning--seems pristine in all its qualities, unaltered in the handling, in the open palm presenting it. Greene knows to hold it out a bit, away from her, into the cold Icelandic air, to let the subtler meanings of the thing escape the thing, extend the taxonomic thing beyond itself." --David Searcy, author of Shame and Wonder

"Like a dream both feverish and freezing, The Museum of Whales You Will Never See works on the reader elementally. As the sentences unspool their disarming lyricism, carrying with them the flotsam and jetsam of strange fact and stranger interpretation, Greene allows delight to converse with revulsion, incantation with nightmare, tradition with oddity." --Matthew Gavin Frank, author of Preparing the Ghost

"Kendra Greene has brought together so much of what makes good storytelling: the compelling and untrammeled subject of museums, the dark mystery of human motivation, and the eviction of the quiet, unbidden black island we call Iceland. This is a book that opens a pathway into the depth and variegated distances of the human heart, enriching the experience we call: to be alive." --Kurt Caswell, author of Getting to Grey Owl

"A delightful, lyrical tribute to those who gather, record, and preserve. This is a book brought to life by its own subject matter: by curiosity, obsession, and the desire to share with others our own sense of wonder." --Malachy Tallack, author of The Un-Discovered Islands

"Kendra Greene understands that a museum can itself be an obsessive work of art, the long fuse of a fever dream that must be shared. And share she does, her wit and deep curiosity casting sparks across every page." --Philip Graham, author of The Moon, Come to Earth: Dispatches from Lisbon

"The setting may be Iceland, but Greene's brilliant prose--by turns funny and powerfully poetic--explores a much more universal human instinct to collect and save. This is a book about our imagination's ability to see what is not there--to pull mythic tales from real things and to find truth in our missing pieces. A beautiful, buoyant read." --Christine Coulson, author of Metropolitan Stories