Sunday, 27 December 2020

Look For Me Under The Rainbow by Bernard Jan

Look For Me Under The Rainbow by Bernard Jan
First published in Croatian as Potraži me ispod duge by Naklada Slon in Croatia in 1993. English language translation by Bernard Jan and Maja Soljan published by Minerva Press in 1998.

Included in my Vegan Bookshop

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes all you need is a big heart and burning desire.

Danny, a curious harp seal pup, has soft white fur and black innocent eyes. Helen is an environmentalist and member of a young activist crew of the Rainbow Warriors. Their mission is to save animals.

As winter turns into spring, a new generation of seal pups comes to life. A few weeks later, the killing begins. Against a spectacular backdrop of ice and snow, Helen prepares to look horrific human cruelty in the face.

I do not doubt I have a big heart and burning desire, but is that enough for a person to become a Rainbow Warrior, or is there something better? Something only some of us manage to turn into what we have long missed—humanity.

In the race against time and clubs, will Helen save Danny before the hunt begins and the ice turns red?

Though written for younger readers, Look for Me Under the Rainbow will appeal to anyone who cherishes our beautiful planet and wishes to protect its treasures.

Buy this book by Bernard Jan, the author of A World Without Color, and experience another emotional journey.

Look For Me Under The Rainbow is a real tearjerker of a novella. Bernard Jan begins his story from the point of view of a curious young seal pup, Danny, learning about life on remote ice floes. The character of Danny is obviously anthromorphised to a certain extent, but I felt this was done sensitively and the effect is absolutely worth the slight suspension of disbelief required of me as a reader. Danny's mother teaches him about the natural predators and dangers he might encounter during his lifetime, but she is still so severely traumatised from a past encounter with humans that, despite his repeated pestering, she cannot even discuss all the possible dangers from this one potential threat. 

The novella is intended for a younger audience so Jan does not go into graphic details of the ghastly seal hunts that inspired him to write this book as a protest against them. Greenpeace action last century brought the cruelty into the global spotlight, but the practice still continues so I feel that Look For Me Under The Rainbow is equally as a relevant a read today as it was on its publication over 25 years ago. Perhaps even more shocking to me though was Danny's encounter with abandoned plastic fishing nets. Reducing oceanic plastic pollution is very much the fashionable campaign of the past few years. Danny's heart-breaking story demonstrates how late we are in realising the reality of our carelessness.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Bernard Jan / Novellas / Books from Croatia


  1. This sounds heartbreaking. Seal hunting has been a great ethics issue in Canada, but at the same time, it's what the Inuit eats up north. Always a bone of contention whether it be preserving tradition, sustaining life, livelihood...

    1. There's not really an ethics question here because it's not a cottage industry providing traditional food and livelihoods anymore. The vast majority of seal hunting these days is owned by a few corporations with the Inuit people themselves reduced to poorly paid cogs in a vast pelt-harvesting machine. It's so depressing to see those corporate interests hiding behind claims of preserving traditions that they themselves destroyed in the name of profit.
      I see similar misdirection at work in Britain with the current furore over fishing rights. Rich newspaper owners and politicians promote this idea of humble fisher families who've worked the seas for generations, when the truth is maybe a few still survive, but the vast majority were forced out decades ago and their quotas sold to mega-trawling companies overseas.