This is 27 March--an issue that has not arrived here on the Pacific yet.
“Herman Melville, Volume I”
Fiction: “Good teeth, she’s learned, are like a passport: they helped you cross borders.”
A few excerpts:
"Evan’s pack is way too heavy. What feels like bricks, she knows, are books. One of them, a hardcover, is biting into her shoulder.
Are you going to read them? she’d asked him. He said yes, he’d definitely read them—but later, when they were settled, when it was warmer. Maybe in April, he said.
There’s a diet book, a book about car repair, a biography of the guy who wrote “Moby-Dick.” The biography is nearly a thousand pages long, even though it’s only Volume I—just the first thirty years of Melville’s life. She assumes it’s pre-“Moby-Dick,” because who writes something like “Moby-Dick” before they’re thirty. Evan was already twenty-three, and she’s used up only a few years less. It was unlikely that either of them would accomplish much, at this rate. She’s never even read “Moby-Dick,” though of course she knows it’s about a whale. Man against nature. She recalls the phrase from school."
"The girl isn’t sure what to say. She thinks to tell the truth, say that she’s stolen a roll of toilet paper. Instead, she asks the woman if she’s ever read “Moby-Dick.”
“Oh God, yes,” the woman says. “Dreadful book.”