This is a story about Mortimer Ascariot, a 1920’s elephantine misanthrope who builds bottle boats, takes meticulous care of his lapel, and dallies on the fringe of reality and fantasy. The novel is set in a pretty little port called Georgetown, South Carolina at the start of the prohibition.
Mortimer’s father, a philandering titan in the shipping business, has been murdered, leaving Mortimer as the unbefitting benefactor of the Centennial Shipping Line. However, Mortimer’s singular mission in life is to attain the title Admiral (issued by the Bottle Boat Club of Chicago) and remove himself from society.
Throughout this absurdist comedy, Mortimer finds himself victim to a series of compromising situations: injustice at the hand of the United States Post Office, bamboozled by a speakeasy disguised as a protestant church, arrested by the Georgetown precinct, mayhem at the hands of his road-kill eating relatives from West Virginia, and thrust into match-making attempts by his nanny, Mrs. Dixon.
Hidden beneath his trusty captain’s hat, but betrayed by his bushy and emotive mustache, Mortimer copes with discomfort by leaning into his surrealist fantasies about the largest and most illustrious boat of the 1900s: Her Mistress, The Esquirer.
Whether related to injustices at the hands of those that would disturb his artistic process, unwanted physical contact from the doting Lilly Lou Longhorn, or his scheming narcissistic uncle, John Adams, who was named after the second president of the United States, a delirious mother who is infatuated with a mysterious man named “Eugene,” or being kidnapped by pirates, Mortimer is a story that straddles the juxtaposition between living a life planned out for you versus taking the risk of a life that embraces the fragility of human psychology.
A Hilarious and Zany Surprise!
I am amazed that this unknown author produced such a well-written text full of charm, comedy, and an unpredictable storyline. The character development was comparable to the movies. I would recommend to any lover of absurdist comedy and intricate stories.