Read an Excerpt from The Full-Moon Whaling Chronicles

The highly anticipated follow-up to Forgotten Work, Jason Guriel’s The Full-Moon Whaling Chronicles (Biblioasis) is an imaginative verse novel set in the nearish future. Told in rhyming couplets, the story is an off-the-charts adventure ride with werewolf whalers and cult YA authors that the Toronto Star describes as “a dreamy mystery […] that’s going to get under your skin this summer.”

To celebrate its publication earlier this week, we share an excerpt from the book.


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An Excerpt from The Full-Moon Whaling Chronicles by Jason Guriel


The first time Mandy Fiction’s novel bayed

At Cat, its spine had taken on the shade

And feel of fur: a wolf’s coat. Cat ignored

It, walking on. The book fell quiet. Snored.

She wandered round the store and took a second

Pass. As she drew near, the softback beckoned

Once again— but this time with a howl.

“Christ’s sake,” Poe said, sighing. With a scowl,

He put down his MOJO, sidled round

His counter, grabbed the book (the howling sound

Increasing to a frantic keening), shook

It once emphatically, re-shelved the book,

And went back to his counter.

                                                 Cat leaned in.

The coat the spine displayed suggested wind

Was running over it and ruffling

The follicles. The book, self-muffling,

Was mewing softly now. She tipped her head.

The title, sideways on the spine’s fur, read,


A hand-drawn windmill’s blades began to turn:

The logo of the press. The animated

Spine stood out against the more sedate

And botless volumes all around it. (Poe’s

Shop stocked a novel product: static prose.)

The fur and blades went still—then stirred again,

The wind on loop. The snobby sort of men

Who frequented Poe’s shop did not abide

Their books on pixiepaper. Poe had died

A little when he’d bought the Full-Moon—part

Of someone’s basement purge. He dealt in art,

He liked to say. A Time of GiftsThe Old

Man and the Sea. But shit like Full-Moon sold.

* * *

The next time Full-Moon made an overture,

It started barking blurbs designed to lure

A teenager: “‘Eclipses Twilight,’ Slate.

‘An instant YA classic. I can’t wait

To wolf it down again,’ the New York Times.

‘It grips you with its claws— and fang-sharp rhymes,’

Library Journal.”

                             Cat was sitting on

The floor, against a shelf, a Breaking Dawn

Above faced out to signal “YA shit”

(Poe’s words). This was the one wall he’d permit

Cat to obscure; his customers were after

Other, grownup matter: Peter Laughner,

Paula Fox, George Johnston, Slint, The Slits—

Great artists who had failed to have great hits.

Poe’s customers dropped names that made Cat frown,

Cult poets she’d not heard of: Daniel Brown,

Bruce Taylor, A.E. Stallings, Christian Wiman,

David Yezzi, Vikram Seth, Kay Ryan.

She didn’t know the artists on the hi-fi

Either; she was there to poach Poe’s WiFi.

Laptop on her lap, Cat blocked a vital

Traffic artery. You had to sidle

Round the vinyl bin that occupied

Most of the floor, the bin a box inside

A slightly larger box: the disused freight

Container Poe had claimed and christened “Crater

Books and Discs.” At one end of the box

Sat Poe, and at the other end, in talks

With someone hawking Something Something’s Greatest

Hits, was Graham, Poe’s part-time salesclerk, daised

At the buying counter. Dumbprint lined

The freight container. Someone with a mind

To circumnavigate the bin would have

To pause at Cat and, with a frown or laugh,

Step over her.

                       “‘A monsterpiece!’” declared

The Full-Moon shelved above her head. She stared

Hard at her screen and tried to focus on her

Work. A passing customer’s red Converse

Stepped across her.

                               Now, the shelf began

To buzz. Cat frowned. Kept editing. Her plan—

To post her latest zlog to ZuckTube—was

Beginning to disintegrate. Buzz buzz,

Buzz buzz, buzz buzz. She sighed, clicked save, and tipped

Her screen down. Faded denim legs, with ripped

Knees, stepped across her. Then, the howls started.

Cat looked up. The softback had outsmarted

Poe. Its pixiepaper, made of bots

Cat thumbed the thing, its pages flickering,

Then held it up. “I think I’m gonna borrow


           “‘Put down the book,’ he said with sorrow.”

Poe, mock sad, kept stickering. “He tried,

But no one paid him any mind.” He sighed,

Then aimed the barrel of the pricing gun

At Cat. “Okay, a week. But when you’re done,

There better not be creases in the spine.

And tell your mom I’m picking up some wine.”

* * *

They’d been a couple, Poe and Cat’s mom, Anne,

For several months. It hadn’t been Cat’s plan

To bring the two together. But: Cat’s need

For Wi-Fi had, like Cupid, interceded,

Bringing Anne to Crater to collect

Her daughter.

                      That first night, he’d somehow checked

His impulse to chew out the lovely, long-

Haired woman running fingertips along

The spines that rippled outward from his walls,

Their titles still, the woman’s eyes a doll’s:

A manga heroine’s. The frown he’d been

Rehearsing for The Mom became a grin,

His anger fading as he followed her

Around the store and showed his customer

His shelves, the two of them in sync and stepping

Over Cat, the girl immersed in prepping

Some new zlog thing.

                                   Poe would later learn

Cat’s mother’s eyes (so blue they seemed to burn

Like welding flames or sea-refracted rays

* * *

Jason Guriel is the author of On BrowsingForgotten Work, and other books. He lives in Toronto. 

* * *

Many thanks to Emily at Biblioasis for providing this excerpt from The Full-Moon Whaling Chronicles.