Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Amy called the whale punkin."

I've finally read my first Christopher Moore novel!  I know that many of you adore him but it took me until now to find one of his books that had a plot that I was really interested in.  Fluke focuses on whale researchers in Maui and, since I studied some marine biology in college and lived in Hawaii for a bit as a kid, this was something I hoped I could enjoy.  So how did it turn out?  Let me tell you.

Nate Quinn is a researcher studying humpback whale songs in Lahaina, Maui.  He works with a photographer/videographer partner, Clay, and they have a new research assistant, Amy.  Nate and Amy are out recording songs when Nate sees something he just can't believe -- a whale fluke with big black letters on the tail spelling "BITE ME".  He only glimpses it for a moment but is pretty sure of what he saw.  When he returns to his office, he finds it ransacked and all of his data has been erased from his computers.  And this is just the beginning of a chain of events that has Nate wondering if everything he has always believed as a scientist is wrong.

There were many things I liked about this book.  Moore really is quite funny.  He also did great research on whales and scientific methods.  There's nothing worse than being brought out of a story by bad facts.  I was totally on board with this story until about halfway through when it took a strange direction.  And yet I was still pulling for the story and enjoying Moore's writing so I continued.  But by the end, the book had mostly lost me.  It got quite strange--a bit religious in a roundabout way--and there were some things that were just beyond belief.  And still, I came out of it liking Moore and I even think I might read this book again at some point.

Have you ever encountered a book like this -- where the plot loses you but your overall impression of it is still positive?

Considering a return to research,

Support our site and buy Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings on Amazon or find it at your local library. We bought our own copy.


  1. Interesting review! I've heard a lot about Christopher Moore as well, but his plots always seem kind of out there (Tom Robbins, too). I'll keep looking for the one that's perfect for me to start with.

  2. Wow that's odd. I've not encountered a book like this before. I like a little crazy in my books but that sounds out there. Still, if you still liked it maybe I'll add it to the list.

  3. I've never read any of his books, although the covers are so eye-catching. Maybe someday.

    The last book I can remember that lost me on the plot but I still loved it was The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. Even though I've seen the movie several times, I still got lost in some of the shaggy details. Just who killed the chauffeur, for goodness sakes? I read somewhere that even Chandler didn't know.

  4. I didn't read this one yet so I can't weigh in on it but I'm glad he didn't lose you completely. He is so funny, isn't he?

  5. I still need to read Moore! No matter how many gushing posts I see, I just don't want to read him. Weird, right?!

  6. Booktobook - His is definitely a name that comes up a lot!

    Paige - It was strange. It's like that person that you want to be friends because you think they have a good personality but you just don't like the same things so you're not sure it will work.

    Rose City - I think many Chandler books are like that. The writing is compelling but the plots just drop new information with no background at random.

    Jenners - He's EXTREMELY funny. He didn't lose me yet. I'll read another one!

    Eva - That's how I felt ... reading tons of gushing posts but just not feeling like his plots were what I was interested in reading. Then I came across this one which intersected with my interests and so I went for it!