Perspective: Moby Dick And The Art Of Living

Oct 13, 2020

I have been reading Moby Dick again, and when I tell people that it's one of my favorite books, they say that it's too long, or too boring, or too complex.

No matter what, Melville's novel always seems excessive. Not to me -- I find it fascinating, precisely because it's long. It doesn't bore me because it's complex. And I enjoy it because it looks like it will never end.

Is there something wrong with me, or is it that others just don't "get" Moby Dick? I have lost count of how many times I read this book. Of course, I read it in Spanish, my native language, but not in an abridged edition. It was a complete translation, and I believe that one important thing I learned from these experiences was to wait for things to come.

Melville built his characters very slowly and carefully; we don't get their full picture until we're very advanced into the novel, and only then can we understand them.

In this time of instant gratification, messaging and purchases, Melville would have failed… At times, I wonder if this world is simply not ready for Moby Dick's slow and careful progress. Why not give it a chance and try to do things slowly and well… like Melville did? That's why I'm reading this novel again.

I am Francisco Solares-Larrave, and this is my perspective.