Christopher Kemp’s FLOATING GOLD: A NATURAL (AND UNNATURAL) HISTORY OF AMBERGRIS
Book review by Dennis D. McDonald
This book is a meandering and personal exploration of the history and industry surrounding ambergris. It says a lot about the people touched by this odd whale-generated substance that at times has been more valuable than gold.
In Kemp’s book both history and a personal journey — he makes no bones about his personal obsession to find some ambergris of his own — are intermingled with profiles of ambergris seekers and those involved in the highly specialized and sparsely populated industry that has long existed on the periphery of the perfume industry.
It’s an oddly touching book. The author bounces around modern day buyers and sellers, lone wolf secretive ambergris “prospectors,” whaling museums, and frequent trips to walk along the beach after high tide. It seems disjointed but is worth a reading if the unusual interests you.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Dennis D. McDonald