In this whimsical, often funny, Depression-era tale, young Connor O’Halloran decides to share a treasure he’s discovered on an isolated stretch of Northern California beach. Almost overnight, his sleepy seaside village is comically transformed into a bastion of consumerism, home to a commode with a jeweled seat cover, a pair of genuinely fake rare documents, a mail-order bride, and an organ-grinder’s monkey named Mr. Sprinkles. But when it turns out that the treasure is not real, Connor must conspire with Miss Lizzie Fryberg and a handful of town leaders he’s dubbed The Ambergrisians to save their friends and neighbors from financial ruin. Along the way, he discovers other treasures in the sometimes languid, sometimes exciting days of that long-ago season. He is rich and then he isn’t. He learns to sail a boat and about sex. He meets a real actor. He sneaks into villainous Cyrus Dinkle’s house and steals his letter opener. He almost goes to jail. He loves Fiona Littleleaf. He finds a father. And best of all, he and little brother, Alex, reclaim their mother from the darkness of mental illness.
Praise for Treasure of the Blue Whale
Steven Mayfield crafts this well-conceived plot into a coming-of-age fable that is full of mystery, heroism, familial love, and humanity. It’s a genuine, imaginative, and endearing meditation on how a few good people working together can accomplish so much in a weary world.
– Dylan Ward, The U.S. Review of Books [read the entire review]
Treasure of the Blue Whale is a tale spun into magic. We sense from the first page that we are in the hands of a master storyteller. Mayfield doesn’t just tell a story; he spins a tale that is humorous, entertaining, delightful, and deeply satisfying. This is the kind of book we remember. This pleasure is why we read in the first place. We step into this world and when, we come back, we are changed.
– Mary Rakow, author of The Memory Room and This is Why I Came
With Treasure of the Blue Whale, Steven Mayfield has written a fable for our time, a novel we need now more than ever. From the moment Connor O’Halloran and Angus McCallum find a treasure with all its promises, readers are swept up in a journey filled with plot twists and rich characters who continually surprise us with their humanity and ability to find hope.
– Chris Dempsey, author of Winter Horses and former artist-in-residence, Idaho Commission on the Arts
Steven Mayfield’s Treasure of the Blue Whale is a fascinating and wildly inventive narrative that artfully weaves the timeless themes of greed, survival, and love into an epic American tale that grips the reader from start to finish. This story is told through the lens of a talented and empathetic writer whom I’ve long admired for his ability to observe and to make sense of our complicated world and the individuals who make a community. This is the novel I’ve been waiting for, and it does not disappoint.
– Thanh Tan, Two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist and multimedia storyteller.
There are many splendid surprises afoot in Treasure of the Blue Whale, the first of which begins in the churning belly of a middle-age whale. Author Steven Mayfield launches his moral balancing act of a story with the greasy glob of maritime discharge that delightfully changes form throughout the novel, morphing from a town’s hope for salvation to that thing which undermines its core. Treasure of the Blue Whale is a mystifying tale capable of accomplishing what the great American novels often do. It fosters conversation and debate about who we are as people and what makes us tick, while entertaining to the very last page.
-Erick Mertz, author of The book of Witness and The Lies & Truth of Doctor Desmond Brice
Mayfield’s storytelling combines whimsy and mystery in a clear and compelling writing style. Treasure of the Blue Whale hooks the reader to discover what wonders and foibles the Whale’s ambergris will bring.
– Jennifer Bowen Neergaard, Founder of BookHive Corporation