Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings

Paperback | June 15, 2004

byChristopher Moore

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Just why do humpback whales sing? That's the question that has marine behavioral biologist Nate Quinn and his crew poking, charting, recording, and photographing very big, wet, gray marine mammals. Until the extraordinary day when a whale lifts its tail into the air to display a cryptic message spelled out in foot-high letters: Bite me.

Trouble is, Nate's beginning to wonder if he hasn't spent just a little too much time in the sun. 'Cause no one else on his team saw a thing -- not his longtime partner, Clay Demodocus; not their saucy young research assistant; not even the spliff-puffing white-boy Rastaman Kona (né Preston Applebaum). But later, when a roll of film returns from the lab missing the crucial tail shot -- and his research facility is trashed -- Nate realizes something very fishy indeed is going on.

By turns witty, irreverent, fascinating, puzzling, and surprising, Fluke is Christopher Moore at his outrageous best.

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From the Publisher

Just why do humpback whales sing? That's the question that has marine behavioral biologist Nate Quinn and his crew poking, charting, recording, and photographing very big, wet, gray marine mammals. Until the extraordinary day when a whale lifts its tail into the air to display a cryptic message spelled out in foot-high letters: Bite me...

Christopher Moore is the author of fourteen previous novels, includingLamb,The Stupidest Angel,Fool,Sacré Bleu,A Dirty Job, andThe Serpent of Venice. He lives in San Francisco, California.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.76 inPublished:June 15, 2004Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:006056668X

ISBN - 13:9780060566685

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Customer Reviews of Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too bizarre for me Nate and his crew work out of Hawaii, studying whales and trying to figure out why they sing. While out studying, he notices some odd markings on the tale of one whale. When the whale surfaces again, he notices that it says 'bite me'. From there, things get weirder and weirder as Nate gets closer to breaking the mystery. Moore is known for his humor novels. Sometimes they can be a bit odd, but Moore takes this one way beyond odd. I didn't find it overly humorous and it was too over the top to enjoy. By the end of the novel, I was skimming it to get to the end. Despite the overall weirdness, there is a good message to preserve our sea and the creatures within it.
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but a little odd. 3.5 stars. Nate is a biologist, studying whales in Hawai'i and trying to find out why they sing. He is working with Clay, a photographer; Amy, a new research assistant; and Kona, a local. One day, on the water, Nate notices something a little strange about the underside of a whale's flukes (the "wings" on the tail): it says "Bite Me". Not only that, things start happening, like the lab being trashed and one of their boats being sunk. It was good and there were funny parts, but the second half of the book got very... um... odd. I enjoyed the first half of the book, and the focus on and information about the whales and the mystery surrounding what was going on, but the second half was just very odd. I also liked the characters and I appreciated that Moore gave us some info at the end of the book about how much about the whales was true, as well as some info about conservation. Despite the focus on whales, I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the other books I've read by Moore.
Date published: 2010-10-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Weird and Wacky Christopher Moore is a very funny writer and this book is no exception. It is also the weirdest one I have read so far. Nathan Quinn is a respected marine biologist studying the song of the humpback whale off the coast of Hawaii. He's determined that a breakthrough in the song's meaning is just around the corner. Moore has obviously done some homework about whales because he seems to know his stuff, too bad he doesn't know how to spell Saskatchewan (spelled 'Sasketchewan' several places in the book). As Quinn gets closer to a breakthrough, strange things start happening to him and the other cast of crazies (including 'Old Broad', his rich benefactor that thinks the whales call her up and order pastrami sandwiches, Kona, a white boy who's real name is Preston Applebaum and who talks like an escapee from a bad rastafarian movie, and, Margaret, a radical hippie reactionist feminist lesbian communist cetacean biologist). Quinn finds himself pulling a Jonah, ending up in the belly of a whale, and things just get stranger and stranger. While this book offers some laugh out loud moments (the story of why Quinn's ex-wife became a lesbian had me laughing so hard I had to put the book down to wipe the tears from my eyes), I still think that Dirty Job is my favourite of Moore's books, but if you're a fan, this one is worth checking out.
Date published: 2009-06-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fluke ... Completely original concept I had only read one other Christopher Moore book before this and I was disappointed, I had heard that Moore was a wonderfully witty and funny writer. I had been unimpressed with Practical Demonkeeping ... HOWEVER, Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings completely caught my attention and funny bone. This book is completely original and it had me laughing out loud on many occasions. I found myself completely boggled and wanting to find out where Moore was taking this fascinating story. Marine behavioral biologist Nate Quinn and his montley crew of characters are studying the Humpback whale to determine why the males sing. Nate starts to think he's lost his mind when he sees 'BITE ME' on the flukes of a whale ... you need to read it to understand.
Date published: 2009-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite Moore! This book was my absolute favourite of all the Christopher Moore books. I know the concept with the whaley boys seems a little far fetched, but Moore manages to pull it off. I like that the book takes place somewhere other than San Fransisco, and that its about a Canadian biologist (which as a Canadian Bachelor of Science student makes me a little biased). At the ending of the book he has a section about whales, their conservation and about the truth to some of the whale stories in the book. Overall, a great and funny book with great underlying message.
Date published: 2009-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Marine Mysteries Rock or "Bite Me" Marine biologists. Hawaii. Pacific whales. What could be mysterious? When you figure out why a whale has "Bite Me" on its flukes, you will never look at whales the same way again.
Date published: 2008-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Moore is a creative author, and goes all out with this book. This is the first of his many books that I have read, and it is still my favorite.
Date published: 2008-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Simply Brilliant This was a wonderful book! I won't even try to give a plot summary as it starts out weird and just gets weirder and weirder from there. Even though strange, I found the story incredibly compelling; this was a book I couldn't put down. Also very funny, in a Terry Pratchett kind of way. Not as burst-out-laughing funny as A Dirty Job, but still pretty hilarious. This is my second book by Moore and I now must read everything he's written. He's simply brilliant. His characters are so real, even though they are very eccentric and often times out-of-this world (literally) they come across incredibly real and likable.
Date published: 2007-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Funny summer read! Christopher Moore never ceases to amaze me. Whatever you believe will happen in the novel, Moore quickly writes the exact opposite. This story begins by following the lives of whale researchers yet quickly falls into a world of science fiction. Christopher Moore kept me laughing from beginning to end
Date published: 2006-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spectacular If this book doesn't get you laughing, nothing will. Fluke is a hilarious addition to any collection
Date published: 2005-11-22

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Editorial Reviews

“[H]ilarious, educational, and original. . . . [I]t is difficult to put the book down, for there are astonishing new developments on every page.” (BookPage)