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Fishboy: A Ghost's Story
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Fishboy: A Ghost's Story

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  277 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
In the brilliant idiom of a modern Melville or Conrad, an odyssey of discovery by a bold and outrageous talent--the PEN/Hemingway Award--winning author of "The Ice At The Bottom Of The World."
Paperback, 244 pages
Published May 1st 1994 by Anchor Books (first published April 1st 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Daniel Otto
Sep 25, 2013 Daniel Otto rated it liked it
Wow. What a great ending, one you wouldn't think could be pulled off in first-person narration. Surely this trick has been done before, but I've never seen it.

Anyway, this is a pleasingly strange tale of an abandoned boy who lives in a swamp and joins the misfit crew of an enigmatic fishing boat. At first it is only the language of the narration that is grotesque and phantasmal, but eventually the events themselves become so. This is not a fantasy novel, but nor do I readily want to call it 'mag
Mar 30, 2008 Carlos rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with a taste for the dark or surreal
Recommended to Carlos by: Steven Nguyen
Shelves: read-2007
The story of a poor orphan boy who runs away to sea, has a series of adventures among a crew of misfits, and returns home somewhat the worse for wear. The sort of novel Melville and Faulkner would have written had they been collaborating and had a supply of hallucinogens handy. The tale Fishboy tells is dark and gruesome, yet also funny and moving, told in a lyrical style full of rich language and set in a surreal yet familiar world of ghosts, mermaids, and strange civilizations. Not recommended ...more
Nov 28, 2008 Alan rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
A fine first novel, enjoyed it very much. Fantasy sea tale with grotesques and criminals, blood and starvation, murder and pox.
Oct 19, 2012 Brandy rated it really liked it
I read far too few novels, and my life suffers for it. The same can be said for poetry. In fact, I am one of the dwindling number of people who feels there is more to be done as long as there are unread books which rest upon the shelf. And there are always more bookshelves, somewhere. So I'm glad to say I finished a novel several days ago which still has me thinking about it, pondering its images and intent.

Fishboy, by Mark Richard, tells of a young orphan who spends the first years of his life
Frank Pounding
Mar 04, 2012 Frank Pounding rated it really liked it
another reviewer: 'Axe battles and rogue waves and women with meat cleavers'. indeed! and the protagonist, a crippled, left-away boy with a whistling lisp who aches to improve his life. i know that one.

like many a good novel, fishboy was clearly undertaken with a great inspiration. however, frustratingly, after the first 2 chapters the beauty and intensity of the prose wanes. nevertheless, the grotesque characters and high adventure held my attention. i actually read it almost twice. perhaps as
Kim Mayer
Aug 21, 2010 Kim Mayer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, literature
I loved this book. It's beautifully written, and has this amazing ability of making me feel both emotionally touched and disgusted at the same time - an impressive feat! While this novel is certainly not for everyone, it has the potential to intrigue and surprise you (if you can put up with magical realism and gross, violent descriptions). Richard's writing style takes some getting used to, but once you do it's very engaging and inspiring. Writers in particular may find a lot of value in this bo ...more
Marcus Mennes
Jun 26, 2008 Marcus Mennes rated it really liked it
When I seek out writing where the language draws attention to itself, I usually turn to modern poetry, which is to say not that often. In his novel Mr. Richard is drunk with language and the results are intoxicating— the consonants are thick, the nouns rounded, caught upon the gag prickles on the back of the tongue, the words blur, the tone drones, the sounds are ground down into an insomniatic over a static radio in a bathtub on lithium W.C. Fields kind of address...and it works, for me at leas ...more
I didn't really like this book very much at all. This could be, in part, because I had pretty high expectations for it. After all, according to the book's description, it combined two of my favorite elements in literature: the ocean and feral children. But, much like the sea the book revolved around, my interest lapsed in and out with the regularity of the tide. There would be a fascinating snippet, the imagery-laden text sucking me in, but it would be inevitably followed by a paragraph-long sin ...more
Jeffrey Dill
Jan 29, 2016 Jeffrey Dill rated it really liked it
This is, by far, the weirdest book I've ever read. And yet, I found myself enjoying it so much. As disturbing and odd a book as it is, there is no denying that Mark Richard is an incredibly imaginative and talented storyteller.

Forewarning, it's not a book that will be enjoyed by everyone. The best way I can think to describe it is a less kid-friendly version of Pirates of the Caribbean - except trade the Caribbean for the Gulf of Mexico. But if you're looking for a good story about a voyage of t
Jan 11, 2016 Chris rated it liked it
Wonderfully bizarre - at times a little difficult to follow, just because of the strange language and grammar, brutally violent and savage, darkly hilarious. I liked this, but it definitely lacks polish. I'd like to read some more Mark Richard - the man has a very strange mind and his writing is fascinating.
Nov 03, 2008 Yarb rated it really liked it
Shelves: your-library
Warped, filthy, barnacle-encrusted yarn which drags its narrative anchor and marauds across a roiling main of recollections ghoulish and macabre.[return][return]Also very funny. Of particular interest to those with experience of, or ambitions to, cooking at sea.
Nov 06, 2011 Richard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: surreal-fiction
I love this book. I guess you would put in a contemporary magic realism category. Overall it's a little sad but also contains hope. Occasionally the prose is a little too ornate but generally it's pretty wild and beautiful.
Nov 07, 2008 Ulfherjar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very bleak, dark and turbid story. I doubt I will ever want to become a sailor now. And I understand the futility of restoring a vintage motorcycle in the boiler-room of an ocean-going trawler.
May 30, 2009 Jenna rated it really liked it
I read this over ten years ago, but I do remember that I liked it. It is one of only a few of my books that Frankie liked.
Jun 04, 2008 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The quirkest read EVER! You either "get it" or you don't...I love springing this one on people. It is poetic, surreal and so very entertaining! LOVE this book!
Cary Jones
Apr 16, 2011 Cary Jones rated it it was amazing
The author's short story collection "Ice At the Bottom of the World" introduced the idea that became this book. The surreal journey of Fishboy is a magnificent nautical yarn.
Apr 02, 2010 Jillian rated it liked it
too much like faulkner. some beautiful sentences, but lish was right in complaining that richard hastily pumped out a novel after a successful book of short stories.
Robb Todd
Oct 18, 2009 Robb Todd added it
Shelves: 2009
The prose was beautiful, but this book is based on a short story, and the story just couldn't carry me through the whole thing. Still, I plan on picking up his short-story collection.
Oct 22, 2009 Sooz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star
what a bizarre ride this book took me on. a surreal moby dick tale. what a writer. he deserves far more critical aclaim.
Melanie Hanna
Melanie Hanna rated it it was amazing
Oct 22, 2014
Terry rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2008
Pangs rated it really liked it
Dec 18, 2014
Nic Young
Nic Young rated it it was amazing
Jan 09, 2014
Peter rated it really liked it
Feb 26, 2014
Jeramy Graham
Jeramy Graham rated it liked it
Sep 08, 2009
Joshua Blum
Joshua Blum rated it liked it
Aug 24, 2010
Ken rated it it was amazing
Jun 23, 2016
Teemu rated it liked it
Jul 09, 2014
Patrick rated it really liked it
Jul 12, 2010
Baxley rated it really liked it
Jan 03, 2015
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