Paula Cappa's Reviews > The Whale: A Love Story

The Whale by Mark Beauregard
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really liked it

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love biographical fiction and this one belongs at the top of the list. Beauregard writes an insightful tale about Herman Melville's most intimate thoughts concerning Melville's attraction to Nathaniel Hawthorne. The physical attraction hinges on their mutual creativity as writers, their philosophies, and deep friendship. Hawthorne fans should not miss this book. What's interesting is I just finished Melville In Love, The Secret Life of Herman Melville and the Muse of Moby-Dick by Michael Sheldon, nonfiction, about Melville's extramarital affair with Sarah Morewood (a fascinating book for Melville fans that I highly recommend), who supposedly inspired him to write Moby Dick. Probably not a good idea to read these books back to back as I did. Because now I'm left with thinking that Melville was madly in love with Morewood, married to Lizzie and having children with her, and desiring a homosexual affair with Hawthorne (who seemed to influence Melville in his writing of Moby Dick as well, especially since he dedicated his sea epic to Hawthorne). This is an audacious novel.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 12, 2016 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by C.C. (new)

C.C. Yager I see no problem with Melville being bisexual. Of course, if he was so busy in that aspect of life, it's a wonder he got any writing done!


message 2: by Paula (last edited Jul 15, 2016 03:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paula Cappa C.C. I wasn't implying there was anything wrong with Melville being bisexual. It's a bit of a surprise, and odd that no other scholars of Melville's biographies make any mention or even a hint of his physical attraction for Hawthorne. The Whale is fiction, remember. I don't know how much of it was Beauregarde's fictionalizations. Michael Sheldon's book, Melville in Love, is nonfiction and recounts his affair with Sarah Morewood.


message 3: by C.C. (new)

C.C. Yager I love your reviews, Paula, and enjoy your interests. I know little about Melville, or Hawthorne for that matter, so I found your review especially interesting. It does seem odd that no other scholars have picked up on the Hawthorne thing, although if the author has taken some liberty with Melville's life, I'd love to read his author's note! Anyway, didn't mean to imply you were being judgemental. Thanks for the clarification. Cinda


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