Review: Chasing the Last Whale by Thomas Wictor

Posted: February 21, 2014 in New Adult, Reviews
Tags: , , ,

whaleAuthor:  Thomas Wictor

Paperback, 312 pages

Published in 2013 by Thomas Wictor

Genres:  New Adult, Fiction, Black Comedy

Synopsis:  Chasing the Last Whale is a novel about rage. Elliot Finell—an angry, maimed young man—meets Trey Gillespie, who is even angrier and more crippled in body and soul. They become friends, despite their utterly dissimilar backgrounds, temperaments, and worldviews. Elliot’s rage has cost him his health, his relationship with his family, and the love of his life, a moody Southerner with a secret. While navigating his strange friendship with Trey, Elliot tries to heal his damaged body. He finds that despite Trey’s negativity, this “evil Okie medicine man” somehow gives Elliot the strength to carry on.

When Trey suffers a crisis, he turns to Elliot with a request. Elliot can’t agree to help. In response, Trey commits a desperate act that triggers a memory Elliot has long repressed. Suddenly aware of the truth about himself, Elliot must decide if he will maintain the anger that has become habitual, the main component of his identity. By understanding what has really crippled him, he’s finally able to see how it has damaged so many others: his lost love, his family, the beautiful young woman who is his implacable nemesis, his ambiguous British friend, and of course Trey, a nuclear reactor of rage, suffering, and bitterness.

Clarity leaves Elliot faced with the most agonizing choices of his life.

Chasing the Last Whale examines intent and outcome. What constitutes a crime? How does victimhood end? Can mercy be immoral? Is love a choice? Does trauma always destroy? And can almost any subject be made funny?

My Review:  I wasn’t sure if I would like this book.  Did I want to read about rage and suicide?  It definitely is a departure from the books that I have been reading lately, but I decided to plow ahead.

Main character Elliott has it pretty bad.  Living with pain in his legs from a tree house fall as a child, he is angry and depressed.  He happens upon Trey, an even more angry and depressed quadriplegic, and the two become unlikely friends.   Elliott struggles to come to grips with his own issues while grappling with the incessant pleadings from Trey to help him commit suicide.

Sound lively?  Actually, Wictor has infused plenty of humor here. He has the ability to take even the most dreadful moments and hit you with dialogue or descriptions that bring you out of your melancholy.  There are plenty of times in the book where we “hear” what Elliott is saying in his head, and then he verbally states the opposite.   This battle of internal vs. external brings levity to uncomfortable situations.

Don’t worry, there is light at the end of the tunnel in Chasing the Last Whale.  While there are no whales here, there is an explanation for the title of the book within its pages (page 177 for those of you who like to peek ahead).

I really liked this book. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for something different and that enjoys black comedy.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

  1. […] Review: Chasing the Last Whale by Thomas Wictor […]

  2. carfor12 says:

    This was an intriguing review and I really feel the need to read this book.

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