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The sheer verve of Melville’s prose will knock you sideways. He had a virtuosic command of the English language, and Moby-Dick features some of the most imaginative, electrifying, rapturous passages you could ever hope to read. It’s also an astoundingly capacious and wise book, brimming with natural history and insightful meditations on the inherent equality of all people, the eternal conflict between personal will and human destiny, and the all-consuming fire of revenge. In short, this is the result of a genius applying his talents to the most enduring of raw materials. I stand in awe of this novel.
Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon is a captivating story of self-discovery as well as a profound exploration of personal and generational pain and the yearning for transcendence. It is filled with complex characters, pitch-perfect dialogue, and exquisitely painted scenes. Time and again, Morrison deftly captures the wonders of both the particular and the universal, the real and the fantastic. Like an ancient myth, magic mingles with the commonplace here, and yet every single note strikes one as being indisputably emotionally true. This is a resplendent and deeply moving novel.