Wednesday, September 16, 2009
In his entertaining adventure-in-whale-researching, Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, Nathan Quinn, a prominent marine biologist, has been conducting studies in Hawaii for years trying to unravel the secret of why humpback whales sing. During a typical day of data gathering, Nate believes his mind is failing: the subject whale has "Bite Me" scrawled across its tail. Events become even stranger as the self-proclaimed "action nerds," Nate, photographer Clay, their research assistant Amy, and Kona, a white Rasta (a Jewish kid from New Jersey), encounter sabotage to their data and equipment. They also observe increasingly bizarre whale behavior, including a phone call from the whale to their wealthy sponsor to ask that Nate bring it a hot pastrami and Swiss on rye, and discover both a thriving underwater city and the secret to what happened to Amelia Earhart. Thoughtful, irreverent, and often hilarious, Moore has crafted a tale that contains a bit of the saga of declining whale populations due to hunting and habitat destruction, as well as his over-the-top, decadent wit as applied to scientific methodology and professional jealousies. Moore notes a pasty, rival scientist "looked like Death out for his after-dinner stroll before a busy night of e-mailing heart attacks and tumors to a few million lucky winners," and that killer whales (which are all named Kevin), are "just four tons of doofus dressed up like a police car." Smart, sincere, and a whale of a story, Fluke is terrific. --Michael Ferc
I've been a fan of Christopher Moore's books since I read Lamb. I added Fluke to my list since I hadn't read one of his books in a while and I had no idea what Fluke was about.
One thing you have to know about Moore's books is that what you think is going to happen won't and something so bizarre happens instead. Fluke is a great ride that you have to be willing to let go and let Moore take you. If you fight it you won't enjoy the book so let go of all preconceived notions and read.
I definitely got sucked into Nate's world. Although my favorite character had to be Kona. He was funny and perfect comic relief at times. Especially since I've known white Rastas with dreads in my past. I could picture him perfectly.
Fluke is funny and thought provoking. What if you spent your life study something like whales only to learn everything you thought about them was wrong?