« | 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

    • Michael Schuller on ‘Satoshi, Baby!’: I guess I can't really argue for or against the assertion that the bitcoin community as a whole is "resentful" over the idea of Wright claiming to be ...
    • Dean Alexander Coulter on Get in Formation: Thanks for the passionate conspectus of Lemonade. I was surprised to be so affected by Bey's album. I think it's a great work, visually, musically...
    • bluecat on A Whisper of a Beard: As always with Bosch, I find myself marvelling over mysterious details, usually in the distance - what is going on, on the right hand leaf of the trip...
    • editor@dailydetox.org on Investors v. States: Stunts such as TTIP never mention liberalizing the residence and employment rules so that people on either side could live and work wherever they choo...
    • streetsj on Investors v. States: Well, I guess they make out like bandits whatever. For a change I agree with some of what Glenn Newey says but it is also useful to read JonathanD...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement Advertisement