Moby Dick (Review) PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 26 February 2012 20:07

Yes, I know. This book should speak to me as a writer for the themes it explores. And it should speak to me, personally, about the mad pursuit of the unobtainable.

But I just...


get through it.

Forgive me, for I have sinned. I've read Three Musketeers (and all the companion books). I've read Candide and Anna Karenina. I've read Don  Quixote. I've even read Tom Brown's School Days. Even Gilgamesh! I know how to set aside the twenty-first century me and become a simpler, less-expectant, slower-paced me, to read a book for its merit and discover the charm as those did hundreds of years before. But Moby Dick - I simply can't get through it.

I've tried. I've forced myself to focus on it, to not lose my way when Melville spends thirty pages on the types of whales. All I know is that twice I've challenged this novel and twice I've failed. Last time, I got to where Starbuck wanders the deck, babbling though the night and keeping the crew awake. But no, I can't do it. I simply can't get through this windy, dusty tale.

And that's too bad, since tales with a cautionary take on the weaknesses and foibles of humans really appeal to me. But no, there is something about Melville (just as there is something about lettuce) that I can't get down.

And it's not just that tale: I've tried Billy Budd and barely made it out of that novella alive. I just can't read Melville, no matter how hard I try.

So sorry - there is your review. Good luck with this fish story. I simply can't force it into my eyeballs.

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 February 2012 20:27


0 #1 Michael K 2012-02-27 10:24
How dare you!

Just kidding. Really, I can see your points. Melville can be long winded and pedantic. Moby Dick is the only melville I have read.

I like it more for literary style than narrative style. I find my appreciation for Melville similar to my appreciation to Shakespeare. The crafting of a sentence or paragraph is so eloquent that it transcends the narrative.

My favorite Melville quote:
"Speak not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me. Look ye, Starbuck, all visible objects are but as pasteboard masks. Some inscrutable yet reasoning thing puts forth the molding of their features. The white whale tasks me; he heaps me. Yet he is but a mask. 'Tis the thing behind the mask I chiefly hate; the malignant thing that has plagued mankind since time began; the thing that maws and mutilates our race, not killing us outright but letting us live on, with half a heart and half a lung. "
0 #2 admin 2012-02-28 23:00
Maybe some day I'll have to try him again. After all, I never liked Shakespeare in college, but last year I read Macbeth (very slowly, with notes on the bottom) and was blown away.

See, I love Wells and have read just about everything I can get my hands on. But nobody else seems to get it. People will rant about the imagination of Harry Potter and I'm thinking Tripods and airship fleets.

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