Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings – Christopher Moore

Grade: A+

I have read many of Christopher Moore’s books, and my latest adventure into the collection was just as fun as the last, if not more so.

In Fluke, Or I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, Moore creates another ridiculous science fiction scenario that doesn’t seem so ridiculous after a few chapters. And as always, it was hilarious.

Whale researcher and biologist Nathan Quinn has spent his life studying why the humpback whale sings. So far he has determined that it is only the males that sing but cannot, even after 25 years of listening to them, figure out why. Funded by an eccentric window who “speaks to the whales,” and aided.by his good friend and photographer, Clay Demodocus, his new research assistant Amy, and a hysterical boat hand, Pelekekona  (aka Kona aka Preston Applebaum), Quinn experiences a modern day Moby Dick encounter and is surprised to find out the answer to the question he has been asking for 25 years. And trust me; you will never see it coming. It leads the scientist to question the origin of life, the question of science versus religion and the trustworthiness of old and new friends. The novel follows Quinn’s discovery and the trials and tribulations that follow, including a ransacked lab, a sunken ship, a secret military operation that threatens to destroy the planet and, of course, a love story.

While the plot line borders on the absurd (alright it’s more than borderline), I never once found myself rolling my eyes at the believability of it all. Moore has a way of crafting the craziest ideas into hilarious tales that, while never meant to be believed, are so well written that they entertain from beginning to end and that Moore is able to squeeze a few actual facts into the novel lends credence to the plot line. So much so that the book can even be seen as a manifesto on the importance of saving the world’s whale population and how destroying an entire species can upset the balance of nature (and, because it is Christopher Moore we are talking about, bring about the end of all human life.

As usual, in Fluke, Moore’s character development leaves nothing to be desired. The main character, Nathan Quinn, is immediately likable and endearing in his relentless search for the answer to his most burning question, despite the fact that no one else in the scientific community could care less about why the humpback whale sings. Quinn’s character provides a bit of normalcy as a baseline for the insanity that ensues to build upon. From Quinn to the mysterious new research assistant, Amy to Kona, the New Jersey middle class frat boy turned Rasta Hawaiian local, by the end of the book I felt like I was saying good bye to old friends.

Every time I put the book down (which was hard for me) I found myself wanting to quit my day job and live as a bum in Hawaii following whales around in search of adventure. Of course, I think that a lot of days, but Moore’s book makes it seem much more realistic and appealing despite the military conspiracy, kidnapping and living furniture.

I have yet to be disappointed in a Christopher Moore novel. Fluke, like all the others, was freaking hilarious, and I can’t wait to pick up another one.

Other Moore novels I have read:  Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, A Dirty Job, You Suck: A Love Story


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