The inspiration for Schulman's novel is a brief but groundbreaking study conducted on dolphins in the summer of 1965. A young woman is hired to feed four 'research' dolphins who live in a lagoon on St. Thomas. Having grown up around pigs and horses (intelligent animals), Cora is naturally curious. Unlike the scientists, she gets in the water, and is immediately struck by a fascinating variety of sounds. The dolphins flee to the farthest corner, so Cora pretends to be busy and ignores them. Perfect! The dolphins soon come to check her out, and so begins their friendship. In a very short time, Cora devises ways to communicate with the dolphins - a gigantic step in animal research at the time. Scientists and journalist from around the world come to St. Thomas, and soon the world knows that dolphins are highly intelligent creatures. Schulman's story is breathtaking, heartwarming, and heartbreaking, and a must-read for animal lovers.— Kay Wosewick
Based on the true story of the 1965 "dolphin house" experiment, this spellbinding novel captures the tenor of the social experiments of the 1960s in award-winning author Audrey Schulman's tightly paced and evocative style.
It is 1965, and Cora, a young, hearing impaired woman, buys a one-way ticket to the island of St. Thomas, where she discovers four dolphins held in captivity as part of an experiment led by the obsessive Dr. Blum. Drawn by a strong connection to the dolphins, Cora falls in with the scientists and discovers her need to protect the animals.
Recognizing Cora's knack for communication, Blum uses her for what will turn into one of the most fascinating experiments in modern science: an attempt to teach the dolphins human language by creating a home in which she and a dolphin can live together.
As the experiment progresses, Cora forges a remarkable bond with the creatures, until her hard-won knowledge clashes with the male-dominated world of science. As a terrible scandal threatens to engulf the experiment, Cora's fight to save the dolphins becomes a battle to save herself.