« | Home | »

Moby, without the Dicks

Tags: | | |

‘What makes Melville Melville is digression, texture, and weirdness,’ says Damion Searls. No, said Orion Books in 2007, all that extraneous business just gets in the way of the story arc. Without all that whale stuff, you could make a readable book. Hey, maybe someone could make an action movie.

The result was Moby-Dick in Half the Time (which you can buy in a bargain bundle at Amazon with Vanity Fair in Half the Time and Anna Karenina in Half the Time). ‘All Dick and no Moby,’ said Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker. Moby Dick is the novel you read to see what novels can be, and for delight.

There’s a touch of Pierre Menard about Searls’s Or, The Whale. Instead of re-creating Don Quixote line for line in its 17th-century Spanish original – a perfect translation – the non-fictional Searls has produced the missing Moby, and created a second subsidiary text made of every chapter, word and punctuation mark that Orion cut out, all in the right order. Now what we need is a third book to be published that puts both texts together…

Comments on “Moby, without the Dicks”

  1. Daniel Soar says:

    Chapter 1 begins: “methodically. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.” Genius.

  2. paulr says:

    Is there more to Ms Diski’s thoughts, or does it just stop there “…both texts together…”?

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • Rikkeh on The Prince and the Ladybird: Would as many people have bought or talked about a Ladybird Book on climate change had the Dolphin not been involved? Almost certainly not. Is there a...
    • Thomas Jones on Earthquakes, continued: A hotel was buried under an avalanche in Farindola, Abruzzo. According to one of the rescuers, who were able to reach the place only on skis, 'there a...
    • Josef C. on At the Gogol Centre: Certainly Kurt Schwitters (* 1887, Hannover, Germany; + 1948 in Kendal, Cumbria, England) and his 'Ursonate' belongs to this artistic league of the pl...
    • Phil on Cold War Ghosts: The conclusion may or may not be a ghost. A USA-Russia propaganda alliance sounds like a weak force, compared to actual trends, which are internal and...
    • Doetze on Cold War Ghosts: It is not the present-day leftists who admire Putin, but the xenophobic ultra-right wing nationalists. Le Pen and Wilders got financing from the Kreml...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement Advertisement