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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

Its very rare for me to struggle through a book that is less than 300 pages yet I definitely found myself doing that with this one. The story had started out ok, with sailors on a ship that had a weird captain and there was strife among the crew but soon after that big chunks of the story went downh

2.5* For Melville completeists only.

Utterly lacking in the cohesiveness of his debut, Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life.

Here, rather, the reader is sustained only by the writer's still-nascent voice, which if anything seems to gone a bit retrograde in its development after that first novel. The cade

Poorly paced, inconsistently interesting, and a bit unfocused. If Typee was a peep into the lives of Polynesian natives, Omoo is more a day in the life of Western folk in Pacific surrounds. The narrative meanders from one hapless attempt at finding vocation to another, seldom finding much of a struc

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 whalin

Back in the mid-80’s at recently maligned Stuyvesant High School, Dr. Pamela Sheldon taught English and introduced me to one of the finest short stories in literature, “Bartleby, The Scrivener.” Her class was my favorite during my three year sentence at that abominable Test Factory; her assessment a

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 but

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