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Typee: 09/12/06


Typee is the fictionalized account of Melville's time living on Nuku Hiva in the village of Taipivai (or Typee Valley).

I have to admit that I came close to putting the book aside a few times. There isn't much plot and Melville uses a full and advanced vocabulary. With my brain a little rattled from the demands of a new born, I found the narrative very challenging. Since I had so enjoyed Moby Dick many years ago I stuck with Typee and I finally fell into its rhythms around page 80 or so.

Here is my BookCrossing Review

Typee was a difficult book to read but worth the effort. There isn't much plot beyond "Tommo's" rehabilitation at the hands of the Typee and his fears that they might be cannibals. Is he being nursed back to health or fattened for a future supper? As with Moby Dick, the bulk of the text is in the form of essay and commentary. There are lengthy discussions on the language, the architecture, the music (or lack thereof), taboos and tattoos, and diet of the Typee. These extra chapters though don't have the humor that is present in Moby Dick. They are still an interesting observation on one subset of Polynesian culture.

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