I have somehow transitioned to reading books on my devices. Much as I love the physical item, digital books offer advantages. So, because Moby Dick is so readily at hand, I am reading it once more. I’ve read it enough times that I can read in dribs. I can enjoy it a chapter at a time because I need not race forward to see how the narrative resolves.
Narrative kinda bores me. So often, an author’s narrative intention produces misshapen exaggerations. An unneeded *about* hangs over such work.
I haven’t read Toni Morrison, for instance. This is not a willful choice, I just haven’t felt the gravitational pull. I wonder if she can surprise me, because popular novels tend not to. I do not offer these thoughts as reasonable criticism. I’m just wary of professional novels.
Melville tried to be professional. He’d had vivid, exotic experiences to work with. Those early novels were easy ventures. Moby Dick begins that way, but then Melville discovered unexpected depths, which he sounded. The book became, let us say, a spiritual commitment.
I have previously burbled about Truman Capote’s failed grand d’oeuvre. He signed a contract and just wished the venture well. I am not so I interested in that, and I suppose I should leave it there. Narrative is the least vital element of novels for me. I like the kicks of Language, and the awareness of the author. Virginia Woolf’s driven exercises, for instance. I will have to find my way into a Morrison novel, so I can cross over from conjecture. Right now, tho, The Whale.