My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Throughout reading 97% of the book, I had planned on giving it 5 stars, despite the encyclopedia of whale hunting it contained, until I got to the denouement. The denouement was too short and unconvincing. It reminds me of Magnolia, long-ass, boring movie that I loved, but when you get to the end, you hear someone in the audience shout out, "All this for flying frogs?" Melville ought to have spent more time fleshing out the denouement and less time reciting all of the research he did for the book. Usually, authors do a ton of research to inform them and get the nuances right, but they don't include their background research in the actual novel. Melville threw in all of his research into the book as well. Much of it was interesting, but I could've lived without it. When he was writing, not reciting research, it was gripping. He has an excellent command of the language that was poetic at times. And then there were the out of place stage directions as if he decided it was a play 90% of the way into the book. Overall, I enjoyed the book, I even enjoyed the quirkiness where Melville didn't know what he wanted the book to be exactly. I just wish he'd cut out 50% of "Everything you never wanted to know about whaling and never asked."
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