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Omoo: A Narrative of Adventure in the South Seas

Herman Melville

Book Overview: 

Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas is Herman Melville's sequel to Typee, and, as such, was also autobiographical. After leaving Nuku Hiva, the main character ships aboard a whaling vessel which makes its way to Tahiti, after which there is a mutiny and the majority of the crew are imprisoned on Tahiti. The book follows the actions of the narrator as he explores Tahiti and remarks on their customs and way of life.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .are covered with dense groves; and the ungathered nuts which have fallen year after year, lie upon the ground in incredible quantities. Two or three men, provided with the necessary apparatus for trying out the oil, will, in the course of a week or two, obtain enough to load one of the large sea-canoes.

Cocoa-nut oil is now manufactured in different parts of the South Seas, and forms no small part of the traffic carried on with trading vessels. A considerable quantity is annually exported from the Society Islands to Sydney. It is used in lamps and for machinery, being much cheaper than the sperm, and, for both purposes, better than the right-whale oil. They bottle it up in large bamboos, six or eight feet long; and these form part of the circulating medium of Tahiti.

To return to the ship. The wind dying away, evening came on before we drew near the island. But we had it in view during the whole afternoon.

It was small and round, p. . . Read More

Community Reviews

"War being the greatest of evils, all its accessories necessarily partake of the same character."
- Herman Melville, Omoo

Omoo is Part II of Melville's adventures...more

As Melville stated himself, Omoo is only a sequel to Typee in that it follows the events that occur to the narrator after his experience with the Typee people from his first book. Only referred to once by his nickname Typee, the otherwise unnamed narrator agrees to temporary employment on the wha...more

Sequel to Typee. Works less well as a story but better as a travelogue.

I read Omoo straight after Typee and was vastly disappointed.

While the former novel has a great narrative which keeps the reader interested, I found this second book of Melville's to be quite boring.

It reads more like a journal than a novel, if that makes sense.
What also made this harde...more

I read the edition (found in my wonderful public library, Harborfields, in Greenlawn, New York) published in 1968 by Northwestern University Press and the Newberry Library. It was edited by Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker and G. Thomas Tanselle. The historical note was by Gordon Roper.
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An unpopular, conniving sea captain on a long voyage to the South Seas. A mistreated crew filled with thoughts of vengeance. A mutiny in Tahiti. Incarceration and then an escape to another Polynesian island. Another retelling of The Mutiny on the Bounty? No, it is Omoo, Melville's sequel to his p...more

I read “Omoo” a year after finishing “Typee”. I had found “Typee” to be interesting, and this sequel is that as well. Instead of being in fear of being eaten by cannibals, here our narrator is put off his ship into a very porous jail, quite possibly a precursor to a Tahitian resort hotel. After a...more

5.2

Herman Melville is by far my favorite author, so it was without hesitation that I picked up the spiritual sequel to his first work, Typee. While Typee has a gripping narrative and is genuinely very interesting in its information, the prose of Omoo feels deliberately alienating in c...more

I think the best thing about this book is that Melville unintentionally captures the scope of French colonisation in Tahiti at the time of writing. The inferences you can make about Tahitian society at the time are a lot more interesting than the actual plotline, which is slow paced and relaxing...more

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