« | 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

    • IPFreely on Nuclear Footballs: According to usually reliable sources, before he became president Trump enquired several times about the availability of nuclear weapons and the presi...
    • Monteville on ‘I can taste the smoke’: It is too soon to demolish the building. The forensic investigation is still going on. There has been a proposal to cover the building, eventually, wi...
    • ksh93 on Nuclear Footballs: A recent article in the Bulletion of Atomic Scientists seems to indicate that late model US nukes have reduced reaction time for Kremlin which is like...
    • Matias Carnevale on Run-ins with the Gatekeepers: I translated his Autogeddon into Spanish last year. He was always witty, respectful and generous in our communication. My condolences to his family an...
    • kadinsky on ‘I can taste the smoke’: The PM mouths regret at 'the initial response' [ie, *my* initial response], praises the emergency services, and vows that everything will be done to b...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement Advertisement