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Chris Bachelder

Teoksen Bear v. Shark: The Novel tekijä

12+ teosta 726 jäsentä 41 arvostelua

Tietoja tekijästä

Chris Bachelder is an assistant professor at Colorado College.
Image credit: Photo by Jenn Habel

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The funniest book about the crisis of middle aged white American males written last year. I mean, probably.
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lelandleslie | 15 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 24, 2024 |
When your marriage has emerged from the Bad Time and its poor communication into a time of communication mainly, apparently, through Herman Melville biography - the wife’s obsession. I wouldn’t like to be alone, the husband notes as he emerges from his pandemic isolation period. It could be far worse, the wife must think to herself as she notes the realities of married life for Mrs. Melville and other wives of men who were great at literature and bad indeed in relationships. It might be thought of as sad, but on the other hand, it might be thought of as productive and not unpleasant.

At least I think that’s what is being said about the marriage. Mostly it is hints and implications among all the Melville and associated bits.
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lelandleslie | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 24, 2024 |
There is something intriguing about a husband and wife creating a book together during a Covid lockdown -- about a couple in a Covid lockdown -- and heavily heavily about Herman Melville for some reason. Just the intertwining of facts here, how things are linked, is impressive and inspiring. My mind can't juggle facts like this, hold so many facts like this, and make these connections. The character mentions post-it notes lost in their bed, and I'm pretty sure this book was probably assembled by using post-it notes. Otherwise, it is an amazing feat to hold so much information at once. For example, even minimally thinking of all of Melville's books chronologically and also matching things to his history or world history. While I am reading a book by Melville, I'm probably not skilled enough to align it with so many things at once. (The focus of 'Moby Dick' on whiteness shortly before the Civil War is one large example.) The line about "when can we stop disinfecting boxes of frozen waffles" hit me, indicating immediately this was a Covid book, but otherwise it is hard to see the overall point of creating a book so much about Melville that is not actually a biography. I would consider myself a minor fan of a couple of Melville's books? Glad I read them? Wish there had been more about 'Bartleby' here. But I'm definitely not a Covid book fan. So this was fine overall. I admire the skill with fact juggling here though.
*Book #141/340 I have read of the shortlisted Morning News Tournament of Books
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booklove2 | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 16, 2024 |
A woman goes through her days during covid in a house with her husband and children, researching Herman Melville's life. Told in single sentences spaced apart on the page, a format that delighted me the first time I encountered it (Jenny Offill's excellent Dept. of Speculation) but began to annoy me soon after, as book after book was published in this form, seemingly as a way of turning a collection of linked thoughts into a novel. String those bad boys together, I would think, you can just use entire paragraphs! But here, they work, reflecting the scattered nature of the narrator's thoughts. She's lost her focus, if not her interest, and goes off on tangents about people who interacted with Melville, or who wrote about him.

Running through the book are the words of The Biographer, who wrote two weighty volumes about the man, who idolized him, defending him from all criticism. The counterpoint to the hagiography are the many accounts of Melville being abusive and of his disregard for his family's welfare. Just as in the narrator's account, there are issues she has with her husband and moments of closeness, of shared history and fond affection.

I was charmed by this book, despite its format.

One really doesn't need to have read Moby Dick to read this novel, although MD is both worthwhile and a lot of fun, but a basic knowledge of Melville's life might be useful.
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RidgewayGirl | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 3, 2024 |



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