Settle in somewhere safe - no heavy machinery! - and give yourself fully over to enjoyment of this unusual and irreverent comedy, which follows Commodore Dickey and cohort-in-crime Mogie Mogelefsky through a convoluted series of side-splitting mishaps as they attempt to scheme their way into power at the Merchant Marine Academy.
John Jacobsen’s A Commodore of Errors: A Novel is kooky as all get out, its zany tone complemented especially by Brian Troxell’s lively performance of the text. Troxell’s slightly nasal voice, combined with his unflinching commitment to hamming it up, play up the best qualities of Jacobsen’s writing, and make it easy to lean back, listen, and laugh, laugh, laugh....
A hilarious novel set amid the Merchant Marine Academy. Commodore Dickey, the pompous second in command at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, desperately wants the top job, presently occupied by the skirt chasing Admiral Johnson. Dickey goes into cahoots with Mogie Mogelefsky, the imperious, bullying mayor of neighboring Great Neck to oust Johnson. When they succeed in exposing him in yet another peccadillo, Mogie suddenly reneges on their deal. Mogie is tired of dealing with the WASPs at the Academy and declares he wants a Jew instead. The Commodore is quick to point out that the Academy's by-laws require the Superintendent to have sea-going experience and that, unfortunately, it will be next to impossible to find a Jewish captain. Enter Mrs. Tannenbaume. Her sonny boy is captain of a ship, coincidentally! But Mrs. Tannenbaume has spent her entire life proclaiming it's Tannenbaume with an E, and that she's not Jewish. Although the Commodore secretly plans to expose Captain Tannenbaume as a Gentile in the end, Mrs. Tannenbaume joins her son's ship in Singapore to teach him and his new bride, a 19-year-old Thai bar girl, to be the perfect Jewish couple. The crew on the M. V. God is Able have never seen the likes of Mrs. Tannenbaume before and they sit back and watch as she "takes the conn" from her son and everyone else who stands in her way. A Commodore of Errors is a bawdy, sea-going romp full of lively oddballs and convoluted plot twists in the P. G. Wodehouse vein.
If you could sum up A Commodore of Errors in three words, what would they be?
Clever, funny, priceless
What other book might you compare A Commodore of Errors to, and why?
I've read no other book like it so if I am to compare it to something, I would go with Life of Brian. It takes a serious storyline full of plot twists and strategy and then riddles it with good humour.
What does Brian Troxell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Brilliantly executed story telling.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
There are moments that left me blown away, but I wouldn't want to spoil anything.