Kindle by Corwin Ericson
Genre :Literature & Fiction
SWELL Bargain Kindle Books
Brief of “SWELL” Kindle Book:
Reminiscent of Christopher Moore?s ?Fluke? and Neil Gaiman?s ?American Gods,? this slightly fantastical tale is told from the perspective of ever reluctant Orange Whippey, the story of his involvement in the comically unnecessary Whale Network unfolds as rival whaling factions, Korean smugglers/ultra tourists/storytellers, and a privacy advocating talking head all do their best to keep him from doing what he would ultimately prefer to do: Nothing. Set on the tiny, fictional island of Bismuth, it moves at a languid pace as Orange is dragged, far too often, to writhing lagoons, rusted ship hulks, hellish saunas, and private islands, creating a subtly farcical, always absurd setting for numerous misadventures
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
Swell: A Beached Whale of a Tale
By T. M. Johnson
Tom Robbins (Still Life with Woodpecker), Alexander Theroux (Laura Warholic), and Richard Brautigan walk into a bar. They are joined by Herman Melville, a small contingent from Greenpeace, and a Scandanavian skald. Instead of crafting a bad joke, they collaborate to write Corwin Ericson’s Swell. Its sea anchor being cut loose, the plot of Ericson’s first novel is set adrift nearly at the outset. Bismuth, a fictional island somewhere off the north east coast of North America, is the setting for this fantasy sci-fi story. Main character and narrator is Orange Whiffey whose name is a commingling of two Bismuthian ancestral families…yes, the Oranges and the Whiffeys. As a character Whiffey takes self-deprecation to a new level; in fact, it is the only personality trait that defines him. Using migrating cetaceans as antennaes for a cellphone network is the novel’s plot, a creative enough idea if only Ericson would do something with it. As it is, the plot washes ashore periodically, but frustratingly it ebbs more than it flows. What follows is a lot of silliness involving North Korean smugglers (on the east coast?), the pseudo-historian and storyteller Snorri who marries bears, herds whales and drinks “old milk” from a pocket flask, Estonindian Waldena, skipper of the Hammer Maiden, an Amazonian hunter of whales. There’s Angie (Whiffey’s love interest although she’s “not his girlfriend”), her daughter Moira, and Angie’s sister Mineola Bombadier, “Priestess of Privacy” who with her armed bodyguards rule the island of Gaiety (“…actually the abbreviation of a much longer Indian name that supposedly means ‘that island over there’”). These characters flounder around in the plot and this reader was not interested enough in them to come to their rescue. The Whale Network, the Whale Council, cellphones that flash flickering icons of the characters, a Harbinger Whale, Hyperborea (the Arctic counterpart of Atlantis)and its communications network of whales, and seagum, Bismuth’s marine marijuana and aphrodisiac (only when snorted), are all a part of the nonsensical goulash of Swell.
The real “character” who emerges from Swell, however, is the author. It is obvious Ericson is more interested in entertaining himself with his clever turns of phrase, alliterative pairings and double entendres than being true to his plot and characters–and his readers. Consider the author’s thinly-veiled delight when he describes Whiffey’s anatomy in arousal as the “hook that would land the leviathon,” and respectively as his “daggerboard, gnomon, gaff, tiller, windlass, and yardarm.” (pp. 43-50) The title of the novel? Unless in keeping with its maritime theme the title refers to a wave or Whiffey’s seagum induced condition, I’m more inclined to go with Webster’s definition of “swell”: a literary “impressive, pompous, or fashionable air or display.” And a cat named Rover? Certainly Ericson could do better than that.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
Interesting, but unpolished and abrupt transitions
By Midnight Baker
The author of this book has an interesting nugget, but the book is unpolished, abrupt, and feels unfinished. It’s hard to relate to the absurd characters. This could have used significantly more time from both the author and the editor to make this more cohesive before publishing.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
northeasterners and northwesterners alike will love this book!
By Jonathan E. Evison
. . . anyone who’s ever lived on an island, a small town, or a fishing village will get this book . . . it’s whimsical, hilarious, and has cult status written all over it . . . if ericson should fail to suspend your disbelief with this whale of a tale, he will keep you reading with the sheer joy of his writing . . . tom robbins meets herman melville . . .
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4.0 out of 5 from 20 user reviews.