Herman Melville is one of the greatest figures in literary history. His classic Moby Dick is generally considered the finest novel ever written by an American. Yet in Melville’s day, Typee was a far more popular book. Largely autobiographical, this classic adventure story is set in the South Seas, where a runaway sailor is captured by the Typees. Described as “a fierce and unrelenting tribe of savages," the islanders have no intention of letting their captive go.
You probably heard of this novel when studying Melville in high school or college. You learned that it's a minor work and haven't thought of it since. But this was Melville's most popular book during his lifetime. It's a great adventure story, told by a master storyteller, and gives the feeling of having been lived firsthand. (For the most part, it was.) George Guidall provides a spirited narration of the plot-driven passages and enlivens expositional chapters (for example, Melville's extensive anthropological observations). Guidall's gift for wry humor and the arch comment serves him (and listeners) well throughout.
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