Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of by Christopher Kemp

By Christopher Kemp

“Preternaturally hardened whale dung” isn't the first photo that involves brain once we reflect on body spray, in a different way a logo of glamour and attract. however the key aspect that makes the subtle odor linger at the dermis is strictly this weird and wonderful digestive by-product—ambergris. regardless of being one of many world’s costliest ingredients (its worth is sort of that of gold and has every now and then in background been triple it), ambergris is usually one of many world’s least identified. yet with this strange and hugely captivating booklet, Christopher Kemp delivers to alter that through uncovering the original heritage of ambergris.

A infrequent secretion produced in simple terms by way of sperm whales, that have a keenness for squid yet an lack of ability to digest their beaks, ambergris is expelled at sea and floats on ocean currents for years, slowly reworking, earlier than it occasionally washes ashore having a look like a nondescript waxy pebble. it could actually seem nearly at any place yet is located so hardly, it may possibly besides look nowhere. Kemp’s trip starts with an stumble upon on a brand new Zealand seashore with an enormous lump of pretend ambergris—determined after a lot pleasure to not anything extra unique than lard—that evokes a complete quest to find ambergris and its tale. he's taking us from the wild, rocky New Zealand sea coast to Stewart Island, a distant, windswept island within the southern seas, to Boston and Cape Cod, and again back. alongside the best way, he tracks down the secretive creditors and investors who populate the clandestine modern day ambergris trade.

Floating Gold is an exciting and energetic historical past that covers not just those important grey lumps and those that covet them, yet provides a hugely informative account of the typical background of whales, squid, ocean ecology, or even a historical past of the body spray industry. Kemp’s obsessive interest is infectious, and keen readers will suppose as if they've got stumbled upon a priceless bounty of this exciting substance.

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