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The Moby-Dick Blues

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Arvin Kraft loves his complicated family, but they talk about him: how slow he is, how they need to share the burden of caring for him, how tired they all are. He hides in the walls of the family's old house in Boston and listens to their laments. And he also discovers there a lead box of old papers. Slowly he reads them and finds they are the original manuscript of Melvil Arvin Kraft loves his complicated family, but they talk about him: how slow he is, how they need to share the burden of caring for him, how tired they all are. He hides in the walls of the family's old house in Boston and listens to their laments. And he also discovers there a lead box of old papers. Slowly he reads them and finds they are the original manuscript of Melville's Moby-Dick, long thought to have been lost in an 1850s fire at his publisher. The manuscript is valuable enough to save the family's failing construction business if marketed properly. But Arvin wants more and Professor Thorne is the Melville expert who can help. Arvin and the professor take turns telling this tale with its lyric resonances of Moby-Dick, the specter of the curse of Ahab and strange deaths, and the scramble of greed as the manuscript becomes more valuable by the hour.


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Arvin Kraft loves his complicated family, but they talk about him: how slow he is, how they need to share the burden of caring for him, how tired they all are. He hides in the walls of the family's old house in Boston and listens to their laments. And he also discovers there a lead box of old papers. Slowly he reads them and finds they are the original manuscript of Melvil Arvin Kraft loves his complicated family, but they talk about him: how slow he is, how they need to share the burden of caring for him, how tired they all are. He hides in the walls of the family's old house in Boston and listens to their laments. And he also discovers there a lead box of old papers. Slowly he reads them and finds they are the original manuscript of Melville's Moby-Dick, long thought to have been lost in an 1850s fire at his publisher. The manuscript is valuable enough to save the family's failing construction business if marketed properly. But Arvin wants more and Professor Thorne is the Melville expert who can help. Arvin and the professor take turns telling this tale with its lyric resonances of Moby-Dick, the specter of the curse of Ahab and strange deaths, and the scramble of greed as the manuscript becomes more valuable by the hour.

40 review for The Moby-Dick Blues

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Falk

    Michael Strelow shook the very ground I walk on. Proposed that the original manuscript for Moby Dick, lost for countless years had resurfaced. What a find that would be. Discovered tucked away in an old house by a young man, Arvin Kraft. A sad young man. Undeserved contempt had been leveled at him throughout his God forsaken life. Shared an up close and personal relationship with abandonment. All based solely on his being just a little slow. Not retarded - a slow thinker. Slow reactor. Sad. This Michael Strelow shook the very ground I walk on. Proposed that the original manuscript for Moby Dick, lost for countless years had resurfaced. What a find that would be. Discovered tucked away in an old house by a young man, Arvin Kraft. A sad young man. Undeserved contempt had been leveled at him throughout his God forsaken life. Shared an up close and personal relationship with abandonment. All based solely on his being just a little slow. Not retarded - a slow thinker. Slow reactor. Sad. This character-driven narrative guided me through the sorrowful failings of a family that seemed to find pleasure from discarding one of its own. This well-written storyline of blatant deceit concluded with a brilliant metaphor that danced in the dark with the ghost ship - Pequod. No other family members knew that youngest brother Arvin spent considerable time sandwiched between the walls of their ancient home. His home away from home. His sanctuary. The only place where he could take refuge to escape his family's disdain. Free to covertly slither throughout the house and eavesdrop on conversations. One day, quite by accident, he discovered the original manuscript for the classic Moby Dick hidden deep inside the wall. At the time, its value to him, to the world - unknown. To Arvin, the hidden treasure represented a new life. A new beginning. Anywhere else would do just so long as it took him away from his daily abuse. The further, the better. Knew he'd never be missed. Better to be alone than treated like a contagious disease. All he ever wanted was to be accepted. My stomach ached for him. Little did he know that its discovery would lead down a darkened road to a path of ruin. With a vengeance, the quest of fortune and fame had reared its ugly head with razor sharp fangs. For Arvin, it was too late to turn back. Wherever it took him, no matter what, he had to see his journey through. Thanks to John Hunt Publishing Ltd./Roundfire Books for this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John Addiego

    There's a scant existential difference between a literary scholar and a holy fool in this adventurous new novel. A lead box hidden inside the dumb waitered interstices of an old New England manse holds the brittle, handwritten draft of Melville's famous whale's tale, the value of which being sufficient to kill people for. And that's what happens to those intimate to a professor on the Oregon coast enlisted to authenticate the document. A short novel filled with literary delights and quite a few There's a scant existential difference between a literary scholar and a holy fool in this adventurous new novel. A lead box hidden inside the dumb waitered interstices of an old New England manse holds the brittle, handwritten draft of Melville's famous whale's tale, the value of which being sufficient to kill people for. And that's what happens to those intimate to a professor on the Oregon coast enlisted to authenticate the document. A short novel filled with literary delights and quite a few good laughs!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karen Mace

    This was an intriguing and thought provoking story, just a little too bleak at times for me! At the heart of the story is Arvin - a young boy who is picked on relentlessly by his family who call him slow, and ignore him most of the time, until they become aware that he has uncovered a priceless manuscript of the original Moby Dick and they see the dollar signs to help their family business out of the trouble it is in. Arvin has his own plans for the money - he sees a better life for himself in This was an intriguing and thought provoking story, just a little too bleak at times for me! At the heart of the story is Arvin - a young boy who is picked on relentlessly by his family who call him slow, and ignore him most of the time, until they become aware that he has uncovered a priceless manuscript of the original Moby Dick and they see the dollar signs to help their family business out of the trouble it is in. Arvin has his own plans for the money - he sees a better life for himself in Mexico away from his family. Dr Thorne is a Melville expert and is beside himself with excitement when word reaches of him about this manuscript. As he comes into contact with Arvin and his family he is witness to their games, the weird dynamics amongst them and watches on pondering his own life and consequences of his actions. I loved the historical aspect, of the glimpse of a better life that discovering such a priceless object brings, but the flip side is the greed that it also brings and when there's a family and others who show very little trust in one another, the positives of such an event soon fade away. Arvin was my favourite character in this - so happy early on to hide away in the house, uncovering its' many secrets, replaying the times when his brothers bully him, and thinking how much better his life could be if he could just get away. This was a quirky read that required a little more effort to embrace than many other books I've read recently, but ultimately was an enjoyable experience.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bonnye Reed

    GNab Michael Strelow brings us an excellent who-done-it, peopled with folks easily understood and excellent peeks into both Newport, Oregon on the Pacific coast and the Massachusetts Atlantic coast. I very much enjoyed both the mystery and the history in this novel. Herman Melville's original manuscript of Moby Dick plays a large role in this novel and there are insights and corrections to the manuscript that alter the focus of the that novel about the great white whale. Strelow can have you lau GNab Michael Strelow brings us an excellent who-done-it, peopled with folks easily understood and excellent peeks into both Newport, Oregon on the Pacific coast and the Massachusetts Atlantic coast. I very much enjoyed both the mystery and the history in this novel. Herman Melville's original manuscript of Moby Dick plays a large role in this novel and there are insights and corrections to the manuscript that alter the focus of the that novel about the great white whale. Strelow can have you laughing at the darndest things one minute and often in tears as well, generally about Arvin. I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Michael Strelow, and Roundfire Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. pub date March 30, 2018 Roundfire Books

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    'Netgalley ARC provided by The Publisher in exchange for an honest review' I have to admit I was struggling during the first third of this book. It just seemed like such a random story and set of characters, I was confused about the meaning and purpose of all of this. Yet, I found a certain honesty to Arvin, especially in the second half of the book, that I enjoyed more than I had expected. It is a simple story and tragic about a terrible family and a broken kid. It all unravels quite quickly, th 'Netgalley ARC provided by The Publisher in exchange for an honest review' I have to admit I was struggling during the first third of this book. It just seemed like such a random story and set of characters, I was confused about the meaning and purpose of all of this. Yet, I found a certain honesty to Arvin, especially in the second half of the book, that I enjoyed more than I had expected. It is a simple story and tragic about a terrible family and a broken kid. It all unravels quite quickly, therefore, sometimes, I felt the story was rushed and there was practically no background to this set of characters. Arvin is the best part of this book for me and I wish the entire thing was narrated by him and we could get deeper descriptions of the people he knows along with it. It is not a complex tale. But I found it quite enjoyable and complete for such a short book. I also left it wanting to know more about these characters in other circumstances and more about Arvin. I enjoyed the characters far more than the series of events themselves. At the same time, I am quite sure this book is probably not for everyone. The setting is pretty specific and I think there is a lot of room for a considerable chunk of this planet's wonderful readers to question the entire purpose of telling this story. And I get them. So, give it a go I say, but go into it with realistic expectations.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    This is a story that imagines if an original manuscript of Moby Dick was found. It tells the story of this and the effect this has on the family and individual that has it. I loved this story. It is such a book lovers book as it shows the power a story and particularly classic novels can have. The characters are well developed and I didn't want to finish the story as i didn't want to leave the world! Highly recommended This is a story that imagines if an original manuscript of Moby Dick was found. It tells the story of this and the effect this has on the family and individual that has it. I loved this story. It is such a book lovers book as it shows the power a story and particularly classic novels can have. The characters are well developed and I didn't want to finish the story as i didn't want to leave the world! Highly recommended

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher Arvin Kraft loves his complicated family, but they talk about him: how slow he is, how they need to share the burden of caring for him, how tired they all are. He hides in the walls of the family’s old house in Boston and listens to their laments. And he also discovers there a lead box of old papers. Slowly he reads them and finds they are the original manuscript of Melville’ I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher Arvin Kraft loves his complicated family, but they talk about him: how slow he is, how they need to share the burden of caring for him, how tired they all are. He hides in the walls of the family’s old house in Boston and listens to their laments. And he also discovers there a lead box of old papers. Slowly he reads them and finds they are the original manuscript of Melville’s Moby-Dick, long thought to have been lost in an 1850s fire at his publisher. The manuscript is valuable enough to save the family’s failing construction business if marketed properly. But Arvin wants more and Professor Thorne is the Melville expert who can help. Arvin and the professor take turns telling this tale with its lyric resonances of Moby-Dick, the specter of the curse of Ahab and strange deaths, and the scramble of greed as the manuscript becomes more valuable by the hour. Okay, I did not get this book. At all. I had to restart it. Twice. But it was just not my thing .. sorry!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Arvin Kraft, described as “slow,” has found a lead box in the walls of his Boston home. It contains Herman Melville’s original manuscript for Moby-Dick. He knows it’s worth a lot of money. When he gets in trouble with his domineering big sister, he gives her a few pages as appeasement. Dazzled by dollar signs, she starts seeking buyers for the manuscript. She also contacts Professor Charles Thorne, a shy man in Newport, Oregon, who is only comfortable in the classroom and the library. Chapters a Arvin Kraft, described as “slow,” has found a lead box in the walls of his Boston home. It contains Herman Melville’s original manuscript for Moby-Dick. He knows it’s worth a lot of money. When he gets in trouble with his domineering big sister, he gives her a few pages as appeasement. Dazzled by dollar signs, she starts seeking buyers for the manuscript. She also contacts Professor Charles Thorne, a shy man in Newport, Oregon, who is only comfortable in the classroom and the library. Chapters alternate between Arvin and Thorne as they become embroiled in a world of greed and misunderstanding. I found Stelow’s style confusing at first. I needed more cues as to where we were, what was wrong with Arvin, and how old he and his brothers were. Thorne’s musings were couched in the literary allusions of a professor. But as the chapters moved along and I got into the flow of it, I began to see genius in the writing. The ending was worth every page.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Keren Krinick

    A reflective read of the marvel in finding an original Moby Dick manuscript and the terrible burden of it. A tale of a boy that found this incredible Melville manuscript in the walls of his home, and the trickle down effects of it on his family and collectors which are interested in it. A bit slow at times, yet a creative, thoughtful and original read. Thank you NetGalley, the publisher and author for the early edition, for my honest opinion.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liliyana Shadowlyn

    Just a warning - parts of this story will tug at your heart strings. The way Arvin is treated by his family is nothing short of horrid. The discovery of the manuscript is both a blessing and a curse - it can help Arvin escape, but people are willing to kill for it. Switching between Throne and Arvin we get two unique perspectives on the manuscript and on Arvin's family life. Greed, financial struggles, a need to escape and the literary find of the century combine for a captivating story. Just a warning - parts of this story will tug at your heart strings. The way Arvin is treated by his family is nothing short of horrid. The discovery of the manuscript is both a blessing and a curse - it can help Arvin escape, but people are willing to kill for it. Switching between Throne and Arvin we get two unique perspectives on the manuscript and on Arvin's family life. Greed, financial struggles, a need to escape and the literary find of the century combine for a captivating story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David P. Craig

  12. 5 out of 5

    Emily Strelow

  13. 5 out of 5

    Beej Jeffery

    After an initial struggle maintaining my interest the book redeemed itself and culminated in an interesting read. Michael Strelow strikes an intriguing contrast between impending financial ruin, redemption and ultimately, greed. Thanks to John Hunt/Roundfire and Netgalley for the ARC.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    What an amazing experience The Moby Dick Blues is for the reader. Michael Strelow offers a character driven commentary on how we look at people, as well as how people see themselves. The main character, Arvin, is complex and layered but so clear voiced. He lives among the shadows, having been judged by others to be "slow." Arvin is slow, deliberate in thoughts and actions, but certainly not stupid. He has a better grasp of human frailty and behavior than is first apparent. The reader gets to tak What an amazing experience The Moby Dick Blues is for the reader. Michael Strelow offers a character driven commentary on how we look at people, as well as how people see themselves. The main character, Arvin, is complex and layered but so clear voiced. He lives among the shadows, having been judged by others to be "slow." Arvin is slow, deliberate in thoughts and actions, but certainly not stupid. He has a better grasp of human frailty and behavior than is first apparent. The reader gets to take a journey of discovery with Arvin, first in his discovery of Melville's original manuscript, and then on to the what's next. I appreciated the opportunity to reach back and review my copy of Melville to see if the notes and changes in the novel would make a difference to my interpretation of the original. The Moby Dick Blues twists and turns and does not disappoint. I could definitely see this novel as a splendid selection for a book discussion group, and I offer kudos to the studio that obtains film rights.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Autumn Turner

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Mijangos

    Great novel about a priceless manuscript and a young man who lacks value to his family.

  17. 4 out of 5

    RedRobinXXX

    I am reviewing this book for Michael Strelow, John Hunt Publishing Ltd, and NetGalley who gave me a copy of their book for an honest review. I’d love to find an old manuscript but wouldn’t like the effect it might have from others– which is exactly what this book is about. Heartwarming at times. Very good.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joni

  19. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Scott-Emmett

    The Moby-Dick Blues has two narrators: Arvin, who knows he's slow but will get there if he's given enough time; and Thorne, a Professor whose main interest is Herman Melville. Arvin gets picked on by his brothers. They won't let him tag along with them unless their mother insists. When they do, he's the butt of their jokes and they steal his meatball sandwiches. His older sister, Salome, rules over everyone. Salome is formed from repressed rage. The family business is deeply in debt, their circums The Moby-Dick Blues has two narrators: Arvin, who knows he's slow but will get there if he's given enough time; and Thorne, a Professor whose main interest is Herman Melville. Arvin gets picked on by his brothers. They won't let him tag along with them unless their mother insists. When they do, he's the butt of their jokes and they steal his meatball sandwiches. His older sister, Salome, rules over everyone. Salome is formed from repressed rage. The family business is deeply in debt, their circumstances are reduced from the days of their greatness and they have lost their place in society. Salome wants things back the way they used to be. When Arvin discovers the lost manuscript of Moby-Dick hidden in the walls of their house, he instinctively knows that these papers are worth a lot. These papers will allow him to buy as many meatball sandwiches as he can eat - if he can stop Salome from getting her hands on them. Eventually, news of the manuscript leaks out and Professor Thorne is drawn into the search for a buyer. Thorne is a reclusive who reluctantly develops relationships with two people who contact him as agents for potential buyers. When they both end up dead in unusual circumstances, he wishes he'd stayed out of the limelight. I found Arvin's chapters more accessible than Thorne's but enjoyed the book very much over all. Whether you have read Moby-Dick or not, this novel is an entertaining foray into the world of literary discoveries and the minds of those involved in them.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ray Smart

    Having not read the original Moby Dick, I thought my understanding of Michael Strelow’s literary thriller The Moby-Dick Blues might be compromised but I was pleasantly surprised. The emotional tugs of this powerful novel run from heart breaking to comedic with a great historical punch to boot. Main character, Arvin Craft, has a developmental disorder and most of his care falls to his immediate family who make him feel inferior and a constant drain on their resources. His vulnerability and the fa Having not read the original Moby Dick, I thought my understanding of Michael Strelow’s literary thriller The Moby-Dick Blues might be compromised but I was pleasantly surprised. The emotional tugs of this powerful novel run from heart breaking to comedic with a great historical punch to boot. Main character, Arvin Craft, has a developmental disorder and most of his care falls to his immediate family who make him feel inferior and a constant drain on their resources. His vulnerability and the family's alienation of him are painful reading at times. When Arvin discovers a box hidden in the wall that holds the original Moby-Dick manuscript, Arvin reads it and realising its value stays schtum. A twofold perspective from Arvin and expert, Professor Thorne, unfolds making for a varied narrative rich in voice, literary history and family drama. My one criticism would be that in places aspects of past and present feel so unrelated that it's hard to switch between time seamlessly. Once Arvin’s brother finds out about the discovery of the manuscript, he pushes Arvon to save the family business by selling it and tension really picks up. An unusual read featuring myth, loss and the writer's hidden depths.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Strelow

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathryne

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emily Tillinghast

  24. 4 out of 5

    J.D. DeHart

    If, like me, you are ready for a literary read, I would recommend The Moby-Dick Blues by Michael Strelow. The book brought to mind the first time I took on the challenge of reading Melville's classic. The book also works well as a model of characterization and reaches back to my love of literature. All in all, this title worked very well for me. If, like me, you are ready for a literary read, I would recommend The Moby-Dick Blues by Michael Strelow. The book brought to mind the first time I took on the challenge of reading Melville's classic. The book also works well as a model of characterization and reaches back to my love of literature. All in all, this title worked very well for me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

  26. 5 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kara

  28. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Robinson

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Joy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sajadeh

  31. 4 out of 5

    T.J. Burns

  32. 5 out of 5

    LaDonna

  33. 5 out of 5

    Elena

  34. 5 out of 5

    Nina Light

  35. 5 out of 5

    Lynne Strelow

  36. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  37. 5 out of 5

    Mechelle VanHoudt

  38. 5 out of 5

    David

  39. 4 out of 5

    Roxy Aflalo

  40. 4 out of 5

    bookwrm

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