Christopher Moore's Fluke, Or I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings explores the world of whales and those who study them. At least the world of whales as seen through Moore's eyes and imagination. Those who have read any of Moore's books, such as Lamb, know that Moore's view of the world is quite unique.
Before I read the book, I knew that a fluke was an odd quirk of chance, but I didn't know that it was also the y-shaped fins at the end of a whale's tale. Moore explains this up front, so I figured I would learn a few things as I read this one. When the main character, who studies whales to learn why they sing, encounters one who is getting ready to dive, he can hardly believe his eyes. Clearly written across the whale's fluke are the words "Bite Me."
"Okay," I say to myself, "Maybe I won't learn anything — maybe I'm just in for an interesting ride and read." The book takes off from there with an exploration and explanation of an entire world beneath the sea of which most humans are completely unaware.
Oddly enought, the characters in Fluke seem real whether she is a mermaid-like hottie who mysteriously appears to help with the underfunded whale study in Hawaii or the eccentric benefactress to doesn't go near the water but hears the whales when they speak to her, particularly the one who repeatedly asks her to tell the whale researchers to bring a hot pastrami on rye sandwich with them.
I had enjoyed reading Moore's Lamb (the story of Biff, Christ's childhood pal) so much that I avoided reading Fluke for over a year. I was worried about "author repeatitis," a condition I suffer from. Symptoms include feelings of euphoria after reading a book by an author, and wanting to repeat the "high," strong desire to go out and read other books by the same author only to suffer feelings of crushing disappointment when the story just doesn't measure up to my expectations.
I'm happy to report that I experienced no such symptoms reading Fluke. Moore delivers an original story and creates a world I was happy to inhabit for a brief time.