CHASING THE LAST WHALE by Thomas Wictor

CHASING THE LAST WHALE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The second book in Wictor’s (Ghosts and Ballyhoo, 2013, etc.) Ghosts trilogy tells the darkly humorous tale of an unusual friendship between a quadriplegic and a depressed copywriter.

In the second book in a uniquely ambitious trilogy composed of a memoir, a novel and a diary, Wictor expands on characters from the memoir to craft a story of both barely repressed anger and uncommon love. Narrated by Elliot Finell, a 36-year-old marketing copywriter, the book begins with his first conversation with Trey Gillespie, a man who fell off of a stool 22 years ago and lost the use of his arms and legs, with sensations in his limbs replaced by constant pain. Trey, it seems, has the ability to get people to open up. Even the very private Elliot discovers he can’t help but tell Trey all sorts of private things. Following that first meeting, Elliot confronts his girlfriend, Gary Pruett (yes, like a guy’s name), starting an argument that rattles his relationship and causes him to have a heart attack. As the story progresses, readers follow Elliot during this difficult point in his life, learning that he’s had a poor relationship with his family since he was a child and that his siblings teased him for being fat. He’s struggling to deal with losing the only woman he’d ever loved, whom he cared enough about to argue with her over something she refused to deal with. Elliot also deepens his relationship with Trey, whose ominous warning at their first meeting—“I had enough of this shit”—steadily proves to be more than mere words as the bitter man in the wheelchair asks an unthinkable favor of his new friend. Throughout, it’s a surprising, difficult yet intensely honest story filled with compelling characters; the way personal details are exposed through voices and actions—perhaps thanks to Wictor’s memoir-writing experience—may make readers wonder if these are real people he’s writing about. Although frequently dramatic, the story is, like life, peppered with a healthy dose of humor, sometimes even in the most trying situations, making the story seem all the more real and its impact all the more heart-wrenching.

An engrossing, relatable tale about letting go.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0615819143
Page count: 312pp
Publisher: Thomas Wictor
Program: Kirkus Indie
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