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Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas, Volume Two, Scholarly Edition

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  529 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Melville's second book, Omoo, begins where his first book, Typee, left off. As the author said, "It embraces adventures in the South Seas (of a totally different character from 'Typee') and includes an eventful cruise in an English Colonial Whaleman (a Sydney Ship) and a comical residence on the island of Tahiti." The popular success of his first novel encouraged Melville ...more
Hardcover, 381 pages
Published June 1st 1968 by Northwestern University Press (first published 1847)
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Omoo is Part II of Melville's adventures in the South Pacific. Typee, his first book, focused on the French Polynesian island of Nuku Hiva (Marquesas Islands). Omoo starts after Melville leaves Nuku Hiva, and centers on his adventures on a whaling ship, the ship's subsequent "soft mutiny" and his imprisonment with a majority of the ship's crew on the island of Tahiti.

Melville writes travel memoirs the same way my father-in-law would tell stories of his youth: built on a solid framework of verac
I read Omoo straight after Typee and was vastly disappointed.

While the former novel has a great narrative which keeps the reader interested, I found this second book of Melville's to be quite boring.

It reads more like a journal than a novel, if that makes sense.
What also made this harder to read was Melville's evident dislike and disdain for the Tahitian people.
While he largely extolled the mores and character of the natives in Typee, he does not share the same enthusiasm for the Tahitians. Eve
Brian Bess
As Melville stated himself, Omoo is only a sequel to Typee in that it follows the events that occur to the narrator after his experience with the Typee people from his first book. Only referred to once by his nickname Typee, the otherwise unnamed narrator agrees to temporary employment on the whaling ship Julia but finds himself in the middle of a crew that is dominated by a first mate while the captain has abdicated his responsibility and retreated into his infirmity. Upon the rejection of appe ...more
This book was part of my Melville read-a-thon. See the review on my book blog:
Shervin Ghiami

Herman Melville is by far my favorite author, so it was without hesitation that I picked up the spiritual sequel to his first work, Typee. While Typee has a gripping narrative and is genuinely very interesting in its information, the prose of Omoo feels deliberately alienating in comparison. There is no concrete narrative, and the stories Melville tales are scattered with personal jokes which are incredibly uninteresting to the modern reader. Melville's descriptions are also vastly weaker, an
Written in typically sumptuous Melvillean prose, this book, while admittedly more plotless than Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life, was no less enjoyable to read; indeed, it was moreso at times, I felt. I imagine it was quite a daring book at the time, given that Melville does not spare the Christian missionaries from criticism. In fact, I'd say the contrast between the imported Western "progress" and autochthonous culture was a theme that pervaded the entire book.

I've worked anachronistically, st
Ben Eldridge
A frustrating read, in that the meta-textual structuring was fascinating whilst the content of the novel itself was pretty much a total failure. Character-wise, the main protagonists were two of the most obnoxious and annoying I've encountered, and especially in the direct aftermath of reading Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before The Mast the entire body of sailors we were supposed to sympathize with in Oomoo were like spoiled little brats. The narrative drive was almost non-existent, the short ...more
'True' story of South Sea adventures told by a guy from New York. It picks up where his last left off: our protagonist narrowly escaping the inclosing hospitality of a cannibal tribe to find himself in the dubious embrace of a whaling ship. Although thankful to be rescued, the hero must contend with meager rations, an unhappy crew, a weak captain and his vindictive officers, and a dismal ship environment overrun with vermin. However dire the circumstances, the narrative remains aloof to despair, ...more
The plot summary is far more enticing than the details of the book: "A failed mutiny lands the narrator in a Tahitian jail where he and his companion are treated with curiosity and kindness. After their eventual release, the two embark on a series of adventures as they work at odd jobs, view traditional rites and customs on the island, and contrive an audience with the Tahitian queen," ( Melville is certainly not short on detail when it comes to describing these events, as well as ...more
Omoo continues Melville's (semi-autobiographical) adventures from Typee. Having escaped from the cannibals of Typee, he takes part in a whaling boat strike/mutiny, spends time in Tahiti "jail" (not as bad as it sounds), escapes/is released and travels around the Tahitian islands, then joins another whaling ship.

Like Typee, Omoo is a mixture of fact and (mostly) fiction. As some critics have noted, Melville "altered facts and dates, elaborated events, assimilated foreign materials, invented epis
Paul Foley
It's easy to see the seeds of the marvelous Moby Dick in this novel and its predecessor, Typee. More of a straightforward sea story and far less metaphysical, these two share with Melville's most famous work an elegant philosophically-tinged writing style and a Melville's curious blend of fiction, natural history, and anthropological reportage. It's an odd, and admittedly a sometimes irritating mix. But my god, the man can write!

"So far as courage, seamanship, and a natural aptitude for keeping
I think the best thing about this book is that Melville unintentionally captures the scope of French colonisation in Tahiti at the time of writing. The inferences you can make about Tahitian society at the time are a lot more interesting than the actual plotline, which is slow paced and relaxing but doesn't amount to much.
Linda Jacobs
Sequel to Typee, a study in the Tahiti of the whaling days, and the hospitality found by the author in his travels.
It was quite confused, slow and uninteresting until, about three fourths of the way through, it began to more closely resemble the writing in "Typee".
An improvement over Typee in all ways, but still ultimately a slight work. The vocabulary has begun to grow more varied and the prose is more accomplished. The most interesting thing for me was the sections where Melville completely breaks the narrative and inserts historical research on the Tahitian and Sandwich Islands. Possibly prefigures the running commentary on whaling in Moby Dick. An easy enjoyable read of South Sea adventures with some serious social commentary also. Recommended
Listened to this from Librivox. It's fun, and I love Melville's voice here. He's got a great wit. This is still not all that recognizable as a novel, with long stretches of description of nature, trees, fruit, shoes, sand, clothing, and all manner of interactions with the indigenous islanders. Very little plot. But it's not fair, really, to hold against it the fact that Melville got so much more complicated, interesting, and brilliant in his work later on.

Classic story of a sailor who is accused of taking part in a mutiny and who is then left behind in Tahiti. While there, he travels though the islands and villages of Tahiti describing the local chieftains, missionary activities, and the local customs at the onset of French colonial rule.
David De Groot
Revitalized my patriotism
This was better written than Typee, but Melville is still years away from writing literature. He's still just chronicling the events of his past. Ending is a little anticlimatic. An interesting glimpse into a place and time. As with Typee, I can see elements that evolve in later fiction.
Melville did not keep a diary of his South Sea adventures but Omoo reads like one. It's a nice overview of the things he encountered at sea and on tropical shores 150 years ago. It's a good read but nowhere near what he produces a few years later in Moby Dick.
Very interesting descriptions but no real actions
Calvin Hecht
Herman Melville's “Omoo” is no “Moby Dick.” Instead, it is a boring and repetitive narrative about a malcontent and undisciplined crew on a whaling ship in the South Seas. My Kindle says I persevered for 32% of this plodding, going-nowhere story before I quit
Much like Typee. Informative and interesting. Melville is a good story teller and his characters are likeable. This has even less plot than even Typee but somehow that's just fine. A fun stroll around the islands as they existed 100 years ago.
It has been a long time since I read Typee and White Jacket, but I think this is better than both. Characters are more developed and the story lines are clear. Melville's prose is pleasant to read and the stories and characters are interesting.
John Hausrath
A very interesting read. It must have been amazing to have travelled the south pacific seas so long ago. I'm not sure I would have liked life on a whaler, a cruise ship would be a better option if they had been available back then.
Little story line ... no plot. Seems to be just a series of incidents experienced by two "adventurers" in the South Pacific around Tahiti. A sequel to Typee, but no where near as good. Not one of Melville's best.
A rather rambling travelogue that provides a few humorous incidents, a handful of memorable characters, and a touch of insight into the transitional lives of Tahitians after the imposition of Christianity.
Enjoyed it. I thought Doctor Long Ghost was a Falstaff Lite.
John Moonitz
This was an incredibly fun read! Fast, full of adventure, riveting from beginning to end! A fantastic introduction to Melville for any reader intimidated by the weightiness of Moby Dick . . .
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Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick - Omoo 1 4 Oct 29, 2012 08:12PM  
  • In the South Seas
  • The Loss of the Ship Essex, Sunk by a Whale
  • South Sea Tales
  • Mr. Midshipman Easy
  • Confessions of a Thug
  • Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World
  • Mosses from an Old Manse
  • The Nigger of the Narcissus
  • A Country Doctor
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea / The Mysterious Island / Journey to the Centre of the Earth / Around the World in Eighty Days
  • The Black Robe
  • Fantastic Fables
  • The Longest Journey
  • Edgar Huntly or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker
  • Free Air
  • The Touchstone
  • How I Found Livingstone in Central Africa
  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby-Dick — largely considered a failure during his lifetime, and most responsible for ...more
More about Herman Melville...
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale Bartleby, the Scrivener Billy Budd, Sailor Benito Cereno Moby Dick (Graphic Classics)

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