Sunday, February 12, 2012

Moby Dick

It is finished. The battle is over.

That is how I feel.

Yet I am sad that after 14 days of hearing his voice in my head, Ishmael and I will be parting.

I'm not yet certain what to say about this (less than an hour after finishing the book), but I wanted to mark the moment. I just know I am glad I read it.

What other people have said about this book that I agree with: is a great lesson in "how to pursue a pointless battle to its bitter, violent, inevitable end." By which we meant, in part, reading the book.
The level of language is like no other.
I think I developed a complicated relationship with this book. On the one hand, I never sat down to read it thinking, "Ooh, boy! Let's read!" It often felt more like a task or quota to fulfill than enjoyment. But, when I did sit down to read it, I usually, at some point, felt a large swell of joy and greatness that I rarely feel these days, often from the sheer complexity and beauty of the language.

NPR's piece on Why Read Moby Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick.


Carol said...

LOL! A complicated relationship is right!

It is a great accomplishment to finish it (Susan Wise-Bauer didn't even do that, and it is on her Well-Educated Mind list. It did use her method of analysis of the book, and it helped me understand it.

This book is so a part of our cultural fabric that reading it helps one to understand North American culture! There are so many references to it everywhere.

That is what I have found with many of the classics that I have read: they are knit into the fabric, and you don't see the individual "knit one-pearl twos" until you read these one page at a time. Then, they appear everywhere!

I always tell people that MD is 100 pages of amazing plot and 500+ pages of whaling encyclopedia. I learned more about whales that I ever wanted.

Congrats again!

Carol said...

By the way, thanks for the link to the NPR radio program "Why Read Moby-Dick?" It is excellent! My library has it, and I put it on hold now.

By the way, I just read Billy Budd, a short read by Melville but all of his beautiful writing! It will seem like a breeze after MD!

hopeinbrazil said...

Thanks for the nudge to read this book. I know I should, but am daunted. I appreciated your thoughts.