Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Whale of a tale

I hadn't noticed before that Jay Parini took a stab at Melville in The Passages of H.M.: A Novel of Herman Melville.  It is not a very inspiring title but this review sounds quite promising,

"The Passages of H.M." takes a two-pronged approach to Melville's life, interleaving the highly subjective, not always reliable, first-person perspective of his long-suffering wife, Lizzie Shaw Melville, with that of a third-person, omniscient account of Melville's adventures in his early adulthood as a seaman on various merchant and whaling ships, his literary aspirations and struggles, and his downtrodden years spent trudging through the streets of New York as a customs inspector.

The "perspective" sounds very similar to The Last Station about Tolstoy.   I suppose we have another movie in the mix?


  1. I see the NYTimes wasn't as flattering as the LATimes,


  2. I recommend Andrew Delbanco's newish biography, which came out in 2005, if you are itching to read something about Melville.


  3. I read Laurie Robertson Lorent's biography sometime back,


    Quite informative but no great insights into his fiction.

  4. I bought that book when it came out but never got around to reading it. Looks good.

  5. I don't know. Sounds very formulaic. The guy is definitely prolific,


    Kind of the H.W. Brands of literature.