Thursday, October 11, 2007

Moby Dick

I reserve the right to change my mind, since I'm only about a quarter of the way into it, but...

I love it.

I love Moby-Dick possibly more than I have ever loved a book before. I'm not even kidding, guys. I, like, cherish every sentence. Reading this book is like getting a gentle massage, or having my back scratched. I actually experience low-level physical pleasure with each word.

It's hard for me to explain why I adore it so much, because I haven't really identified it beyond these three broad but important points:

1) Ishmael is a terrific narrator. He's a kind, thoughtful guy -- someone you'd actually really like to get to know. He loves to go on about things -- but it's endearing, not annoying, because he actually has interesting things to say. Also, he's really generous about people, and optimistic about the world in general, without ever seeming ignorant or naive or even unrealistic.

2) The prose is great. Melville... I never read anything by him before, and now I suspect I'm going to be working my way through everything in the next couple of years. I adore his writing. He always uses just the right word. His sentences are playful and elaborate but so readable. His pacing is steady and unhurried but he is never, ever boring. (IMHO.) But there's more to it than that -- his choice of words, his rhythm and sensibility -- it's sublime. I can't even tell you what's so great -- I can't figure it out myself. I'm just in love -- heedlessly and blissfully. It makes me content.

3) It's really, really funny.


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