The Book

snow whale

A Hey Small Press! Best of 2011 selection, “The funniest book we reviewed all year.”


When John Jacobs, a mild-mannered suburban office worker, takes a DNA test and discovers that he is part-Inuit, he so embraces his new identity that he declares it his Inupiat tribal right to set forth on a whale hunt.

So begins this postmodern satire, a seriocomic, quirky adventure set in the oldest continuously settled town in North America, in the North Slope of Alaska, on the frozen Chukchi Sea, literally at the top of the world, where the inhabitants and their ancestors have depended on subsistence whaling for thousands of years.

Minichillo cleverly dishes out a resounding twist on Melville’s classic that re-examines identity, race, and our connection to nature, all while poking fun at our contentment with heated socks in an era defined by global warming.


“Minichillo’s quirky, comic first novel, is an American original. The ingenious way in which the novel raises levels of social issues like identity politics and environmental concern, and seamlessly integrates them into an iconic literary text is a wonder and a delight.”  –-Stuart Dybek, author of I Sailed With Magellan, and Coast of Chicago.

“…a stunning performance by an inventive writer at the top of his game.”  –-Frederick Barthelme, author of Elroy Nights and Bob the Gambler.

“Packed with tongue–in-cheek observations, Minichillo has crafted a delightful tale that is subtle and outrageous in equal measure…” –Publisher’s Weekly.

“…an auspicious and hilarious debut novel.”  –-Hey, Small Press!

“Reader, beware: Many serious issues are pretty much trampled here, but the result is wry, dry, pure hilarity all around.” –The L.A. Times.

“Part satire, part mythic romance, The Snow Whale, like its namesake, is a unique creation.” –Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule, the 2010 National Book Award winner.

“Minichillo uses Melville’s Moby-Dick as a touchstone for a satirical juxtaposition of the trivialities of cubicle culture with the wilds of Northern Alaska, where men still hunt whales-—to consequences both hilarious and unexpectedly moving.” –Chapter 16


Comments are closed.