Thursday, January 17, 2013

First review of MELVILLE BIOGRAPHY on Amazon

 By a reviewer Inabif (not real name)

5.0 out of 5 starsFascinating and Beautifully Written!, January 17, 2013---5 Stars
Amazon Verified Purchase
If you have any interest in Melville, Moby-Dick, literary biography ... or beautiful, lucid prose, Professor Parker's magnificent new book is for you. I can't recommend it highly enough. Imagine: A brilliant scholar who can write! No wonder Parker understands Melville better than any of the many Melvilleans working today--he is a fellow writer. The book is chock-full of so many illuminating and fascinating elements. Whether he is explaining to us--always so clearly and entertainingly--what he knows of Melville's hotel dinner with Hawthorne, at which HM presented one of the first copies of Moby-Dick to its dedicatee, and how he knows it, or elucidating the enormity of the cost HM (and his family) paid for his genius and it manifestation on paper, Parker is always your favorite college lecturer--wise, informed, enthused, reasoned, often funny, and empathetic. He desires to tell you why he loves Melville and why you will, too. Parker also knows the value of archival research--and the hours and miles logged during the creation of his definitive two-volume life of HM are stunning. Mr. Parker has the ability to convey the excitement of the true research scholar in the moment of "the find," as in this passage: "There will always be a few literary detectives who devote months or years to the pursuit of documents in the confidence that at last they will sit at midnight in a little bare motel room in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and turn through a big shoebox full of what looks like only bills of lading until they spy a blue folded paper, clearly a letter, a letter with the signature `Really Thine, H Melville'..."
Melville, our greatest novelist, deserves Parker, our greatest biographer. My own opinion is that Parker was robbed of the Pulitzer for Herman Melville: A Biography. Is it too much to hope that the Pulitzer committee corrects its mistake by selecting Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative for next year's prize?

1 comment:

  1. The writer is now identified as Jack O'Connell, and more power to Jack O'Connell!