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The passage below is from Fathoms: The World in the Whale Hardcover by Rebecca Giggs.


The sounds of surfers arriving in the dark woke me. I brushed a pearly skin of sand off my cheek, my shoulder, one thigh. Were those sharks, raiding a lux channel tipped up by the moon? Hard to tell. We resolved that the whale had been washed too high on the beach for any shark to reach it.


Here I am a volunteer who wants to help save a stranded whale. I took a light sleep on the sand and woke to the sounds of surfers.


What is the meaning of the 3rd sentence? This one sentence actually has several questions.


First, why THOSE sharks are referred to out of nowhere? Isn’t THOSE hints sharks were said before, but this is the 1rd time.


Second, what is the meaning of lux channel, and how can shark raid a lux channel, and how those sharks can be tipped up, that is turned over by the moon? To me it looks like some kind of joke.


Thanks in advance.

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Here is a bit more context.

The sounds of surfers arriving in the dark woke me. I brushed a pearly skin of sand off my cheek, my shoulder, one thigh. Were those sharks, raiding a lux channel tipped up by the moon? Hard to tell. We resolved that the whale had been washed too high on the beach for any shark to reach it. Rinsed by pewter light, every detail was particular and peculiar. Ridges in the sand. Plants like handfuls of knives. It felt cold. It felt cold, to us. By sunrise, a part of the whale that ought not to be outside of it, was outside of it. A digestive organ, frilled and bluish in the foam. The whale’s billiard-ball eyes tumbled in its head, and its breathing sounded laboured. The sharks slid into vapour, a squinting rumour. No blood on the tideline. People stayed back from the water’s edge nonetheless.

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Here are a few little thoughts about this.

You need to think of a lot of this writing as poetry. One reviewer has described it this way: is that not poetry disguised as prose? A lot of poetry is very, very hard for anyone except the poet to understand. To add to the difficulty of understanding, I think this text is actually a translation from original Polish.

The writer hears the surfers arrive, and wonders if the sounds are made in some way by sharks coming to eat the whale. Surfers commonly wear sleek black wetsuits, and if she glimpses them, she might mistake them for sharks. Attackers who come unexpectedly are often called raiders.

lux is Latin for light. The only light source here is the moon . We call such light moonlight. Individual rays of light from th moon are called moonbeams. I wonder if a lux channel means a moonbeam.

I don't have a clear idea about what 'tipped up' means. We say that the moon casts (ie throws) moonbeams.'


You are not the only one who has or would have difficulty with this text.

Clive

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Comments  
Stenka25To me it looks like some kind of joke.

That is comically bad writing, incomprehensible. She is Australian, so maybe there is something about her language that can be accounted for that way, but I doubt it.

Stenka25First, why THOSE sharks are referred to out of nowhere? Isn’t THOSE hints sharks were said before, but this is the 1rd time.

You are reading that wrong. "Were those sharks" is the same as "were they sharks", "were those things sharks". "Those" is the plural form of "that", so if there had been only one shark, it would have been "was that a shark". It is the pronoun and not the adjective. Her use of "those" there is normal.

Stenka25Second, what is the meaning of lux channel

God and Ms Giggs know, and I'm not sure about God.

Stenka25 how can shark raid a lux channel, and how those sharks can be tipped up, that is turned over by the moon?

I can only guess that "tipped up by the moon" refers to the tide, and she imagines that the tide came in while she was sleeping and that it created a waterway that sharks could come up to attack the beached whale. It is the channel that was tipped up, not the sharks (I read it the way you did at first), but "tipped up" does not mean anything that makes sense there.

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Stenka25First, why THOSE sharks are referred to out of nowhere? Isn’t THOSE hints sharks were said before, but this is the 1rd time.

"those" is not a determiner of "sharks", i.e. the sentence is not referring to "those sharks". Instead, "those" is a pronoun meaning "those things". Thus, "Were those sharks ... ?" is asking whether some things (things that the narrator noticed or was aware of) were sharks. The comma after "sharks" helps us to understand that this meaning is intended.

I don't know the answer to your other question, so hopefully someone else can answer that.

 Clive's reply was promoted to an answer.
CliveTo add to the difficulty of understanding, I think this text is actually a translation from original Polish.

Are you certain about that? As far as I can gather, the author is Australian.

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i said 'I think' because I wasn't sure. When I look more closely, a Polish poet was mentiond in some of the reviews but not as the original writer of this. My apologies.

Australian should be easier to understand than Polish (shouldn't it?)

Clive

anonymousThat is comically bad writing, incomprehensible.

From the short excerpts I've seen, I couldn't agree more. It's like a bad amateur creative writing project. Beats me how one reviewer called it a "work of [...] genius". I couldn't read more than half a page of this overblown twaddle.

CliveAustralian should be easier to understand than Polish (shouldn't it?)

Well to me it's un-Fathom-able. Heh-heh.

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She' clearly a deep thinker.

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