I started reading Moby Dick recently. So far I can’t decide whether I’m gripped by it or just overwhelmed. Melville’s style is like nothing I’ve ever encountered before, and it’s certainly not particularly accessible, but every few pages he blows me away with the strange, rugged beauty of his writing. Take this for example – how many alliterative pairs does he throw into this sentence? And yet it works.
On one side, New Bedford rose in terraces of streets, their ice-covered trees all glittering in the clear, cold air. Huge hills and mountains of casks on casks were piled upon her wharves, and side by side the world-wandering whale ships lay silent and safely moored at last; while from others came a sound of carpenters and coopers, with blended noises of fires and forges to melt the pitch….
I may never get it finished – it’s the kind of book that requires a long daily commute or some other opportunity for uninterrupted reading. I’ve tackled the first hundred or so pages, Ishmael and Queequeg have just set sail on the Pequod, but Ahab – never mind Moby Dick – is yet to make an appearance. I’ve given myself the target of getting it finished before summer, and if I do I will attempt to write a proper review of it on this blog. Wish me luck!