I Would Prefer Not To
In these stories of the surreal mundanity of office life and obscure tensions at sea, Melville’s darkly modern sensibility plunges us into a world of irony and mystery, where nothing is as it first appears.
A lawyer hires a new copyist, only to be met with stubborn, confounding resistance. A cynical lightning rod salesman plies his trade by exploiting fears in stormy weather. After boarding a beleaguered Spanish slave ship, an American trader’s cheerful outlook is repeatedly shadowed by paralyzing unease.
'Melville instinctively aspired to the grandest scale, and even in his shorter works offers vast inklings and the resonance of cosmic concerns' - John Updike 'Melville seems to promise the very stuff of existence: time, space, air. We don't so much read him as inhale him' - Geoffrey O'Brien 'There are very few stories that, on re-reading after re-reading, seem to become impossibly more perfect, but Herman Melville's eerie, aching story Bartleby, the Scrivener is one such' - Stuart Kelly 'Some of the most brilliant stories of his or any other century. From proto-existentialist Bartleby-whose dry, ironic voice of resistance chimes with our own times-to the dark ocean gothic of Benito Cereno, he surpasses any expectation' - Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan or, the Whale
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