Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick
Moby-Dick is perhaps the greatest of the Great American Novels, yet its length and esoteric subject matter create an aura of difficulty that too often keeps readers at bay. Fortunately, one unabashed fan wants passionately to give Melville’s masterpiece the broad contemporary audience it deserves. In his National Book Award-winning bestseller, In the Heart of the Sea, Nathaniel Philbrick captivatingly unpacked the story of the wreck of the whale ship Essex, the real-life incident that inspired Melville to write Moby-Dick. Now, he sets his sights on the fiction itself, offering a cabin master’s tour of a spellbinding novel rich with adventure and history. Philbrick skillfully navigates Melville’s world and illuminates the book’s humor and unforgettable characters—finding the thread that binds Ishmael and Ahab to our own time and, indeed, to all times. A perfect match between author and subject, Why Read Moby-Dick? gives us a renewed appreciation of both Melville and the proud seaman’s town of Nantucket that Philbrick himself calls home. Like Alain de Botton’s How Proust Can Change Your Life, this remarkable little book will start conversations, inspire arguments, and, best of all, bring a new wave of readers to a classic tale waiting to be discovered anew.
The Melville humor, especially in his daring move to name a sperm whale “Moby-Dick,” is illustrated but faintly by Philbrick in his non-fictional explanation on why one should read Moby-Dick. However, Philbrick is a master at moving the soul to want such a reading for its descriptive magnificence and its depth of moral muscling. Using excerpts from the novel, he guides his reader to the heart of Ahab’s conflict with the great white whale through Melville’s grand ability to deliver reality on every page and achieve perspective within the tumult of the moment. If you have never read Melville’s Moby-Dick, you will find your intellect challenged with a great desire to do so; if you have read this distinguished novel in past-times, you will find your heart at peace with knowing the musings behind this great American literary classic. It will be well worth the read.
Thanks for visiting, Rose, Julie, Donna, & Rochelle
Length: 144 Pages