The same as the movie and yet, so different too.
If I was to describe the story and act like there was no movie to be seen, I would tell you about this dark and whimsical fantasy. Where witches rule the lands and creatures of many kinds are in abundance.
I wish I had not seen the film. As epic as it was, it's actually ruined the real story for me a little bit. The movie was so magical and family oriented . The book is not. It has a darker element than the film adaption. I like that though but don't think everyone will. Especially if you've already seen the film first. Things happen in the book that don't happen in the movie, or the things that do happen are out of sequence to the film.
Still, I like dark and I liked the book.
While known today for vengeful captain chasing a white whale, Herman Melville’s writing career began with a travelogue of his adventure on the Nuku Hiva and was his most popular work during his life. Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life is a semi-autographical book that Melville wrote about his approximately 4 week stay that he “expanded” to 4 months in the narrative.
Melville begins his narrative when he describes the captain of the “Dolly” deciding to head to the Marqueas Islands and then events surrounding the ship’s arrival at the island as well as the actions of the French who were “taking possession” of it. Then Melville and a shipmate named Toby decide to ‘runaway’ to the valley of the Happar tribe and execute their plan when they get shore leave. Climbing the rugged cliffs of the volcanic island, they hide in the thick foliage from any searchers but realize they didn’t have enough food and soon Melville’s leg swells up slowing them down. Believing they arrived in the valley of the Happar, they make contact only to find themselves with the Typee. However the tribe embraces the two men and attempt to keep them amongst their number, but first Toby is able to ‘escape’ though Melville can’t help but think he’s been abandoned. Melville then details his experiences along amongst the cannibalistic tribe before his own escape with assistance of two other natives of the island from other tribes.
The mixture of narrative of Melville’s adventures and the anthropological elements he gives of the Typee make for an interesting paced book that is both engaging and dull. Though Melville’s lively descriptions of the events taking place are engaging, one always wonders if the event actually took place or was embellish or just frankly made up to liven up the overall tale. The addition of a sequel as an epilogue that described the fate of Toby, which at the time added credibility to Melville’s book, is a nice touch so the reader doesn’t wonder what happened to him.
Overall Typee is a nice, relatively quick book to read by one of America’s best known authors. While not as famous as Melville’s own Moby Dick, it turned out to be a better reading experience as the semi-autographical nature and travelogue nature gave cover for Melville to break into the narrative to relative unique things within the Typee culture.
Re-read by Audiobook. I read this when I was in high school - I think around 1978 - and thought it was such a scary, fantastic story. If there would have been goth in the 70's, I would have been one. Everything scary, occult, horrific I read. Just a bundle of sunshine!
This reading I liked it (thank goodness) but not as much as I did when I was a teenager. The narration included a part about how Ray Bradbury came up with the idea for the story which was interesting. The narration was good but I didn't remember Will being so whiny.
Graham Greene is one of those authors that I've always meant to read - and following along with BrokenTune's Greene-land Adventures project increased my desire to dip into his books. The Summer of Spies gave me a perfect opportunity to check out one of his "espionage" books.
I wasn't expecting the level of farce contained in this book. It's not really a spy story - it's a story about a reluctant vacuum-salesman-turned-spy who has no intelligence to provide, but who needs to make the money he is getting for his dispatches worth the while of the British Intelligence service. So, he starts making stuff up.
There are some very funny parts of this book - the "missile drawings" that were obviously based on a vacuum cleaner is hysterical. The conversation between Hawthorne and his boss where the boss convinces himself that Wormold is actually some sort of a merchant king is bitingly funny, and also quite a propos of current politics, where, apparently, 49% of America can be convinced that a lying moron with inherited money is actually a brilliant strategist worthy of being President.
When it is in your interest to believe something, this book points out, reality is of little import.
And, as it is in life, when delusion collides with truth, someone is probably going to die. The ending is a brilliant illustration of what happens when human beings are confronted with an inconvenient and embarrassing reality - sometimes maintaining the lie is easier than acknowledging that you've been fooled.
So it goes...