Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Moby-Dick - Herman Melville

The story of the obsessive captain Ahab and his nemesis, the white whale is an integrated part of our collective Western culture despite the fact that relatively few have actually read the book - and considering its length and meandering style, there is really no wonder.

You might, therefore, be justified in wondering why some goofballs consider a re-read necessary, especially as there are so many new books around to delve into. 
I have no proper answer to that, except that I don't regret more than a perhaps a couple of minutes of my re-read. 

(The trick to getting through this book : Small bites! Just as you would if you were to eat the whale. A couple of pages at the time.)

Just like Ellis's 'American Psycho' (no other parallels between the two!) the narrative wanders off in long, detailed digressions on obscure topics such as 18th century cetology, Nantucket, boat anatomy, the colour white, whaling as an activity... The first whale appears 200 pages in. Be forewarned.

To conclude, it is way too long, but still! The plot is powerful. The narrative voice is charming (Call him Ishmael). There is something undefinable, poetic about this novel, which is perceptible even without literary analysis.

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