Gus Openshaw's Whale-Killing Journal
Here we have a novel — could it be the first of its kind? — purporting to be the reprint of a blog. Gus Openshaw is an absurdist Ahab, a middle-aged cat-food cannery employee who has lost his wife, child, and right arm to a blubbery sea beast — ”he’d be pushing the max if they had Big & Tall stores for sperm whales” — and who sets sail seeking vengeance. His blog entries describe silly encounters with pirates, a preppy dungeon master, a psychotic cook, the whale-huggers of ”Bluepeace,” and a nonagenarian navigator, among others. The love interest is his arms dealer’s raven-haired intern, who’s sold him a remote-controlled robotic giant squid. This is all fairly amusing and entirely inconsequential — an anti-Moby Dick.