Elizabeth Hardwick (1916-2007) is the author of many books and essays, including Herman Melville (Penguin Lives), American Fictions, and Seduction and Betrayal- Women and Literature. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The great white resurfaces in this gripping, comic book-style retelling. Comic-strip veterans Schwartz and Giordano condense Melville's leviathan tale into an action-packed, 48-page adventure. Despite forgoing Melville's "Call me Ishmael" first-person narrative and sensory details, this retelling closely adheres to the original plot, including some pivotal scenes absent from Allan Drummond's spare but entertaining 1997 Moby Dick. The dense story clips along, thanks to concise but appealingly hammy storytelling and melodramatic drawings, plus multiple panels that quicken the pace. When Ishmael meets Queequeg, for instance, the author squeezes out every drop of suspense: "There in the dimly lit room looms the forbidding image of Queequeg... harpoon at the ready, poised to sink its sharp head into his shaking body!!" Giordano ratchets up the tension with a series of close-ups of Ishmael's terrified face as he awakens to the "savage" in his rented room. The brooding, dark-toned panels exude imminent danger-an ideal milieu for Captain Ahab's doomed voyage. The book also provides a brief biography of Melville, as well as facts about whaling and New Bedford, Mass., the city that commissioned this retelling in celebration of the 150th anniversary (in 2001) of Moby Dick's original publication. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)
"Responsive to the shaping forces of his age as only men of
passionate imagination are, even Melville can hardly have been
fully aware of how symbolical an American hero he had fashioned in
--F. O. Matthiessen
"From the Trade Paperback edition."
"Call me cheap." This Dover "Giant Thrift" version is currently the most affordable edition of Melville's epic of revenge. Truly no frills but fine for libraries not requiring heavy scholarly editions. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-8-In trimming Melville's leviathan novel down to picture-book length, some of what made the original so intriguing is inevitably lost; what this version retains is the main action of the story and details of life at sea. The former is captured admirably by dramatic illustrations that have a classic comic-book feel. Unfortunately, the flow of the story is often confusing: the loss of a first-person narrator relegates Ishmael to near nonexistence; the flow of images can be disjointed, leaving readers wondering what panel to read next; and the text, while suitably hyperbolic, is awkwardly reliant on ellipses and exclamation marks. Just as in the original tale, information on whalers and whaling appears throughout the work, yet here the handling is uneven. "Ambergris" is clarified in a side panel, "captor pilings" go unexplained, and "scrimshaw" is mentioned in one of three short essays (on Melville; whales; and New Bedford, CT) that bookend the main text. Readers looking for an introduction to Melville's most famous work may find this title useful; otherwise, it is an additional purchase, particularly for those who already own Will Eisner's mythic comic adaptation (NBM, 2001) or those lucky enough to have acquired Bill Sienkiewicz's breathtaking "Classics Illustrated" edition (Berkley, 1990).-Douglas P. Davey, Guelph Public Library, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.