Ahab’s Return: or, The Last Voyage by Jeffery Lord is a novel, imagining the famous Captain Ahab coming back from, what thought to have been, his last sail. Mr. Lord is an award winning author and teacher.
- 272 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062679007
I did not know what to expect from this book, of course I know about Herman Melville’s Moby Dick even though, I have to admit, I have never read the full length novel (but I will… one of these days). The idea of Ahab’s Return: or, The Last Voyage by Jeffery Lord was intriguing, but it was something completely different than what I was expecting.
The book Moby Dick, it seems, was written as a true tale of adventure by Ishmael, only that he exaggerated a bit – but if you’ve ever read any of those tales, even today, who can blame him. To everyone’s surprise, Captain Ahab shows up, maybe not as crazy as he seems in the book, but certainly not the sanest man either.
The story works best if the reader keeps in mind that this is a fun adventure book, Ahab is trying to reconnect with his family, angry about his unfair portrayal in a best-selling book, while giving you a glimpse of early New York City. The author tries to tie contemporary issues (racism, opioids, and more) to this story while keeping with the themes of Moby Dick (defiance to authority, friendship, death).
I enjoyed reading about New York City (Manhattan) in the 1850s, a rough place full of richness, poverty, and gang elements. There are many elements of magic and mysticism to this novel, something I was not expecting which are central to the story and the themes which, I believe, the author was trying to project.
I found the author’s research into the history of New York City fascinating (all explained in the notes in the end, which expended my “to read” list by many books), the Indian Caves (Inwood Park), the Crystal Palace and other locations which do not exist today. He even referred to the streets by their old name by finding a map, and of course letting the astute reader know where to find it.
This is a very entertaining and thought provoking book, it was a lot of fun to read and follow the intriguing characters, new and old, which the author imagined. The narrative flows fast and the story takes the reader into unexpected territory.
Captain Ahab finally manages to return to Nantucket, only to discover that due to a book his first mate, Ishmael, wrote, he is believed to be dead. Searching for his wife and son, the captain reaches New York City where he meets a tabloid reporter George Harrow. Harrow makes a deal with the captain to help him search, but write about it in The Gorgon’s Mirror.
During their search, Harrow and Ahab meet unexpected challenges. They experience paranormal activities, audacious racism and the newly formed drug culture.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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