Review: Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Nate Quinn has spent his entire professional career following humpback whales around the ocean, trying to find out exactly why the males sing. He's currently in Hawaii, where the whales spend the winter, still researching. His world is rocked on the day that he is taking pictures of one singer and sees BITE ME clearly written across the whale's tail. Did he imagine it? Was it there? Surely he got a picture of it. He heads back in to get his film developed, only to find that someone has completely trashed his lab. So begins a lot of inexplicable events.
Oh my gosh. I'm pretty sure Fluke just replaced A Dirty Job as my favorite Moore novel, and I can't help but wonder if it's because I listened to Fluke.
I have never been interested in audio books. I don't take things in all that well just by listening. I've tried them a time or two, and while I found them interesting at the time, I never had any desire to turn the book back on and finish it. Then, about 6 months ago, I realized how much my new job was eating into my reading time. Out of desperation, I tried an audio book during my commute, and I haven't looked back. I'm now one of those people who sits in my driveway listening to my book, because I have to know what happens next.
Still, the printed word is my first love.
I wasn't too sure about this narrator, Bill Irwin, at first. His voice was a little dry. It didn't seem to fit Moore's laugh-out-loud, over-the-top, usually raunchy humor. Oh, but I was wrong. Somehow it was even funnier. I would be driving along, something outrageous would come out of this guy's mouth, and I'm looking around, "What? Really? He did not just say that." And then I'd start laughing like a crazy person alone in my car. Or, my favorite was when I was mowing our yard, which seems bigger every time I mow it, dripping sweat as I pushed our mower along, and just howling with laughter. Miracles happen every day.
Kona was probably my favorite character. He's a Rastafarian stoner who acts like he's a native Hawaiian when he's really a white boy from New Jersey with some ridiculous name like Spencer. (Nothing against Spencer, but Spencer and Kona are worlds apart). I loved Irwin's voice for him. Just perfect. I was worried that I wouldn't understand it when I first heard it, but I quickly got the hang of it. He slips in and out of the Rasta-talk with ease. When Kona learns that they eat kitties in China, he is crushed. "Kitties? Cute kitties?" You can hear the tremble in his voice and so picture his lip trembling as well. Poor burned-out Kona with his big heart.
Now, the story.
The story came within a fingernail width of going over the top for me. I seriously considered making a "crazy_shit" shelf on Goodreads and putting all Moore's books on it, with this one being the craziest of the crazy shit. The first half is fine. And then--. And then. Wow. I had to consciously decide to just let go and let Moore take me where he wanted to. I've only been disappointed in one of his books so far (Fool, if you're curious), so I thought if I could just reserve judgment, I probably wouldn't regret it. I obviously don't. It was so close though. I can see how some people would just hate this one.
If you're brave enough to let go and enjoy the ride, I do recommend Fluke, especially on audio. It has been a while since I've laughed as much at a book.
Read an excerpt.
Find author Christopher Moore on his website, his blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
Buy Fluke at
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