The Movie is Here in Thunder Bay. Don't Miss it.

The Movie is Here  in Thunder Bay. Don't Miss it.
Indian Horse, the movie based on the book by Richard Wagamese

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thunder Bay's Brian Spare has produced an amazing book, an updated Moby Dick.  He writes:
“My goal is to bring this wonderful classic to a wider readership.”  In the forward below he describes his love for the classic and discusses his decision to unertake this project.

The Hunt for Moby Dick
by Brian Spare

 Herman Melville first started to write Moby Dick as “a romance of adventure” sea story as one publisher coined it. Through Nathanial Hawthorne’s influence his novel grew in size and complexity taking on metaphysical symbols and meanings. Here Melville found a venue to express his own views about life and religion that he could only express through symbolism and allusion for fear of upsetting the religious aesthetic of his time. “I have written a wicked book,” Melville wrote to Hawthorne.

 Initial reviews were widely mixed.  They ranged from glowing praise for its liveliness to fierce criticism for its bombast and unconventional style. Melville was writing to an audience that knew little about whales or whaling even though the products of the industry, mainly made from whale oil, were commonly used in daily life. In that regard, his novel’s storyline was interjected throughout with educational material. The first readers were shocked by the accounts of whales and whaling he revealed to them, and this might be in part why it did not sell well. Not until 30 years after Melville died, and 70 years after it was published, did Moby Dick receive the acclaim it deserved as the great American classic during the Melville Revival of 1920s. After the end of World War I Moby Dick was seen as more than an adventure novel and viewed as what happens when one man’s plight for vengeance is allowed to take control. Ahab knew he could not achieve his aim, but his insane spite for the White Whale impelled him to his end.

 “...  To the last I grapple with thee. From hell’s heart I stab at thee. For hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee ...  thou damned whale ...”

 After I first read Moby-Dick, I thought what a great story. Although I like the 19th century style of writing and lofty prose, it was tough going at times to firmly grasp the storyline. References made to people and places commonly known to readers in the 1800s but out of use in today’s world further hampered a good understanding of the tale. Finally, not being familiar with the parts of an old wooden sailing ship made it hard to envisage where on the Pequod scenes were taking place.

 Despite these difficulties, the story made a big impression on me and I was hooked. What would have made my experience of Moby Dick even more enjoyable, I felt, would be some diagrams to illustrate the various parts of a 19th century whaling ship and a glossary of terms and phrases to explain the language of the day. Updating at least the narrative to present day language would help as well. I know people who would read Moby-Dick if only they didn’t have to deal with the old prose.

 A few years after reading Moby Dick, I decided to tackle editing this story to make the changes I thought would make the novel more palatable to the 21st century reader. Two years later, here it is. In this version of Moby Dick, that is The Hunt For Moby Dick:

·     the text is updated/modernized while maintaining a sense of the era in which the story took place

·     strictly educational material is removed to streamline the novel leaving just the story

·     a glossary of terms and phrases assists you

·     ship diagrams guide you through the Pequod as you read

·     I feel this book, The Hunt For Moby Dick, is close to the “romance of adventure” novel Melville first intended to write.


My goal in writing this book is simply to bring this wonderful classic to a wider readership. Novels that become classics do so because they tell an epic, a timeless story. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick does that by instilling within us the romance of sailing a tall ship in a treacherous trek through a world unknown to many, the folly of blind vengeance and our endless pursuit of truth. Epics portray the yearning deep within our souls for purpose, adventure forgiveness and love. These are the stories that are told and retold. They are read time and time again for they are as old as humanity itself and as ageless as the stars above. This is a story of yesterday rewritten for the readers of today. Become absorbed in the most readable version of this timeless classic. Board the Pequod as she sails the stormy seas of Ahab’s relentless pursuit of his foe. Sit back now, book in hand, and join in The Hunt For Moby Dick.

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