Israel Potter

Israel Potter

His Fifty Years of Exile

eBook - 2010
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Publisher: [Waiheke Island] : Floating Press, ©2010.
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Tyler__J Aug 20, 2015

This is a really great novel that, for some reason, few people seem to know about. A picaresque comic romp based on the dubious biography of a self-proclaimed veteran of the battle of Bunker Hill, it starts off rather slowly. However, when Melville departs from the text of his source material the book really comes to life. Potter's adventures are fast paced and peopled with many historical figures of the time (think of Forrest Gump set in 1776), making the story appealing to anyone who simply wants to be entertained, yet there is a great deal of art in the book as well. Offsetting the light-hearted tone are scenes of shocking violence presented in a dispassionate voice and depicted with such visual clarity that they would not be out of place in Blood Meridian, and a balance between the serious and the silly somehow is achieved. For readers who find the whale book too daunting, Israel Potter would be a more accessible introduction to the writing of Melville.

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