The Whale, Original Version

Some random line of thinking led me to Moby-Dick a few weeks ago, and I figured, "Okay, I'll give this a try" -- fully expecting it might be one of those impenetrable 'classics' I decide to quit. (Life is short: If something entirely optional, like a book, is beyond me or turns out to not be my thing, I now allow myself to leave it unfinished.)

This book is great!

The chapters are short, Dickens-style, making me suspect they were serialized. They're the perfect length for reading before bed.

And the writing is so evocative, quickly sketching out a very specific, weird, and compelling time and place.

Most surprising, it's totally gay. One makes allowances for meanings having changed over time, not projecting a postmodern perspective on a different era, blah blah blah. But... no, this is really gay.

Not having studied this book or researched it before this reading, I'm wondering why I've never heard this perspective before.

I'm still just at the beginning, but I was inspired to make this drawing of the two main characters we've spent the most time with (much of which they've spent in bed with each other):

Cartoon: Ishmael and Queequeg

Queequeg is unquestionably a conglomeration of misinformed racial stereotypes, but he's treated with some sensitivity and admiration, so I like him and am glad he exists in my imagination. I can fully appreciate that I might feel otherwise if I were Black.

Again, not having read the book before, I worry for his fate; I have the feeling that things are going to go badly for all involved.