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Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings (Today Show Book Club #25) Paperback


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Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings (Today Show Book Club #25) + Island of the Sequined Love Nun + The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 321 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (June 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006056668X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060566685
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 Ferch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Biologist Nate Quinn has been researching whale songs off the coast of Hawaii for years, and although he enjoys his work, he's never discovered anything really earth-shattering . . . until the day he sights the whale with "Bite Me" written across its tail. This astounding spectacle soon leads him and his trusty companions--flirtatious research assistant Amy; Clay, his loyal photographer; their perpetually stoned surfer-dude helper, Kona; and Nate's ex-wife, Libby, now a lesbian (apparently because of an unfortunate encounter with a randy male whale)--on a surprising adventure above and below the ocean. This amusing pastiche cobbles together elements from all the classic sea yarns: from Jonah and the Whale to Moby Dick to 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. Unfortunately, the bland cover art, strange title, and lackluster jacket blurb will not help this book to fly off the shelves. Recommended for those looking for an idle beach read or something to take on a long plane flight. Michael Gannon
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It's not a fluke--Moore is funny, funny, funny.
TKK
I became on the characters in the story and was there all the way to the end.
G.Jones
If you've never read a Moore book FLUKE is a good one to start with.
gjenkins@csrlink.net

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I would read Christopher Moore based on the titles of his works alone. He has written fantastically odd and fun books for years, including ISLAND OF THE SEQUINED LOVE NUN, THE LUST LIZARD OF MELANCHOLY COVE, and LAMB: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO BIFF, CHRIST'S CHILDHOOD PAL (which, in my estimation, is his best, most bedazzlingly kooky book yet). Once I get past the title page of a Christopher Moore book, I'm never disappointed. He always delivers the goods (the goods being odd characters, odd settings, and odd happenings). The latest Moore delivery is FLUKE: OR I KNOW WHY THE WINGED WHALE SINGS, and he will not disappoint fans.
The odd characters include marine biologist Nathan Quinn, a lifelong researcher of the humpback whale and their song; Clay Demodocus, his associate; beautiful research assistant Amy Earhart; and Rastaman, Kona, a white boy from New Jersey. The settings, which are varied, include Maui, a giant whale ship and "Gootown." The odd happenings are too numerous to mention. There's some discussion of a whale calling a benefactor by telephone asking for a hot pastrami and Swiss on rye. There's an escape from an amorous Samoan. There's a situation involving a super-race of piscatorial mutants. And there's that one whale that had written on its tail "BITE ME."
Of course, the book is not too thick with such heavy topics as the meaning of life and love. There is, however, some discussion about Canadian hockey violence. Moore won't give you long theories about the nature of man or the political implications of the Middle East. He will, however, give us some interesting cetacean sex, which is always titillating. It's a breeze to read.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Christopher Moore's brand of humor, while always irreverent and sometimes off-color, also bursts through the constraints which might limit it to the real world. Moore has often explored other realities, and in this novel, we discover the underwater world of singing whales and the researchers who study them. Far more "straight" and less frivolous than in most of his earlier novels, Moore is clearly fascinated by cetacean biology and the research on which he focuses here.

Nate Quinn is a PhD. researcher who studies the subsonic songs of humpback whales and works the channel between Maui and Lanai, identifying and following individual whales, recording whale songs, and converting the songs into digitized computer programs in an effort to decode them. Three other researchers and numerous other wacky characters, allow the author plenty of room for hijinx at the same time that he is exploring serious issues. An old woman gets a phone call from a whale wanting a hot pastrami on rye with mustard, a researcher remains underwater for sixty minutes without breathing, an absolute ruler wants the navy to "nuke the goo," and mutants who look like aliens, known as whaley-boys, walk the land.

As Moore shifts from science to science fiction, the line between reality and fantasy disappears. The reader willingly suspends all disbelief and succumbs to the spell of Moore's non-stop flights of imagination as he explores underwater life. His famous sense of the absurd, his irony, and his humor, some of it black, never flag, and his imagination, given free rein, soars in this wild fantasy.

However playful it may be, this novel also marks a significant new direction for Moore.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By E. Castro on July 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a readable, generally entertaining book. The funny bits - and there are a lot of them - are really funny. But about half way - maybe a little more - he goes from pleasantly wierd to a complete abondenment of any sense of believability. It was a bit like he'd started writing the book, came up with a couple of good gags, found himself in a spot he couldn't think of a way to get out of, and just started randomly inserting impossibilities to make the pieces stick together. The impossibilities bring out the paper thin personalities of the characters, and for me, it sort of unraveled from there. In some ways, the character development of the central characters is summed up on page one. Nate is a researcher, good hearted, obsessed with whales. Amy is young, hot and looks good in shorts. Things happen around these people, we get revelations about their past, but that's about it - the revelations don't lead to any better understanding. For me its unsatisfying - neither the story nor the characters nor the humor really grips.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Poly Esther on November 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of Christopher Moore. I bought this book went it came out and was saving it for a gray day. I have been looking forward to reading it for month. I finally picked it up last weekend. What a huge disappointment it was!

This story drags along, there's no action, it's not very funny...it's the exact opposite of all of Moore's other books: It's boring..

Christopher Moore is a really wonderful author, if you have never read a book by him, please! pick any of the others and I guarantee you will enjoy yourself immensely.

I am, none the less, looking forward to his next book! I hope Mister Moore will have found his voice back!
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