Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Wreck of the Whaleship Essex by Owen Chase

This true account apparently inspired Hermann Melville to write Moby Dick. I've tried twice, but never got past the second or third chapter of Moby Dick, but this was much more readable. The attack by the whale on the ship, which Melville apparently makes the climax of his novel, is to me actually the least interesting part of the story. How the crew survived is what I wanted to read about. The first mate, Owen Chase, wrote this account only a couple of years after the disaster happened and it's in archaic yet clear language. It takes you into another world completely.

Day 252; Book 240

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