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?

6 comments:

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

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/books/review/Marshall-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

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

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/04/arts/04iht-bookmer.html

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

    http://books.google.lt/books/about/Melville.html?id=57MLC2NIm4AC&redir_esc=y

    Quite informative but no great insights into his fiction.

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

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

    http://www.amazon.com/Jay-Parini/e/B000APLDQA/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_al2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=13TTMSXDNQYY8K7Z3TB4&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

    Kind of the H.W. Brands of literature.

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