The Whale: A Love Story by Mark Beauregard really caught me off guard! As you may have guessed from the title of this book, the story is based on the life of Moby Dick author, Herman Melville. What surprised me was the revelation — a new one to me — that Melville was obsessed with Nathaniel Hawthorne. Oh my goodness! My high school literature teacher never mentioned this back when the works of these authors were required reading. I assure you, that would never have been discussed in a Catholic school.
This novel is based on destroyed letters written by Hawthorne to Melville and others. It isn’t that I find all of this difficult to believe, it just blew my mind! Here I innocently thought the book would be about Melville and his love of whales or life on the sea, but it turned-out to be about two married men who fell in love with each other and influenced each other’s lives and work.
It will take me some time to digest this newfound revelation, but overall, I was disappointed with this book. I found it wordy and confusing. So much of it focused on Melville’s sexual longing for Hawthorne that I became disinterested in it very quickly. I will never look at Moby Dick in the same way again.