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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 in the South Pacific. Typee, his first book, focused on the French Polynesian island of Nuku Hiva (Marquesas Islands). Omoo starts afte...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

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 harder to read...more

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

This is honestly a pretty well written book, but I think travel literature just isn't for me. Reading this in 20-30 page bursts is fine, but it just did not sustain my interest for anything more than that. If you're really into descriptions of Tahiti circa-1840 this is the novel for you, if not,...more

Qué hermoso es leer a un autor que tanto quieres...
Buena novela, con varias descripciones de Tahití y la vida de la época.
No es un libro para alucinar con él, pero es muy genial la forma de narrar de Melville y te hace pasar agradables momentos, incluso llegas a sentir la brisa y el sol de la Po...more

The book starts where Typee ended; our hero recently living among the so-called barbarous peoples of the Marquesas, finds himself aboard the most dysfunctional ship you have ever read about, with an ineffectual captain and a crew of reprobates ready to mutiny at the drop of a hat. Great character...more

Picking up where Typee left off, with the narrator taking leave of the Marquesas and joining the crew of a whaling ship called the Julia, the pseudo-autobiography Omoo continues the adventures of Tomas (although his name is never used in this book) as he seeks a way home. The story told in Omoo i...more

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