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Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer [Format Kindle]

Matthew Gavin Frank

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Memory, mythology, and obsession collide in this “slyly charming” (New York Times Book Review) account of the giant squid.


In 1874, Moses Harvey—eccentric Newfoundland reverend and amateur naturalist—was the first person to photograph the near-mythic giant squid, draping it over his shower curtain rod to display its magnitude. In Preparing the Ghost, what begins as Harvey’s story becomes spectacularly “slippery and many-armed” (NewYorker.com) as Matthew Gavin Frank winds his narrative tentacles around history, creative nonfiction, science, memoir, and meditations about the interrelated nature of them all. In his full-hearted, lyrical style, Frank weaves in playful forays about his trip to Harvey’s Newfoundland home, his own childhood and family history, and a catalog of peculiar facts that recall Melville ’s story of obsession with another deep-sea dwelling leviathan. “Totally original and haunting” (Flavorwire), Preparing the Ghost is a delightfully unpredictable inquiry into the big, beautiful human impulse to obsess.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2358 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 321 pages
  • Editeur : Liveright; Édition : 1 (7 juillet 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00FPT5MP4
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°629.503 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Commentaires en ligne

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  9 commentaires
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 More than just a squid... 15 juillet 2014
Par Stephanie E. Post - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Delightfully unexpected! Yes, it contains the biography of Moses Harvey, the first man to obtain a photograph of a giant squid, but from that jumping off point the discussion alights on topics ranging from family, death, insects, ice cream, pain, guilt, commerce, obsession, otherness, and mythology. Miraculously, no matter how bizarre the subject matter, Frank connects each element so organically that it seems perfectly natural that the giant squid, butterflies, and death by chocolate ice cream occupy the same space in thought. Preparing the Ghost is an eye-opening, mind-bending whirlwind that you don't want to miss.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Miraculously Intricate, Tentacularly Fragile 23 août 2014
Par MartyA - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
"Now for the R! Up we go! Attach! Descend! Pay out the line! Whoa! Attach! Good! Up you go! Repeat! Attach! Descend! Pay out line. Whoa, girl! Steady now! Attach! Climb! Attach! Over to the right! Pay out line! Attach! Now right and down and swing that loop and around and around! Now in to the left! Attach! Climb! Repeat! O.K.! Easy, keep those lines together! Now, then, out and down for the leg of the R! Pay out line! Whoa! Attach! Ascend! Repeat! Good girl!"

That's Charlotte in E. B. White's Charlotte's Web narrating her acrobatic writing process. You can almost see the little gray spider leaping, twirling, jumping. Creating a miracle of language. Something that's intricate and fragile at once. A thing puzzling and wondrous.

I've been carrying a book around in my book bag that is just as strange and beautiful as a dewy spiderweb. Matthew Gavin Frank's Preparing the Ghost, a 282-page meditation on the giant squid, Moses Harvey (the first man to photograph it), monomaniacal obsession (think Captain Ahab chasing a Moby-Dick with tentacles), death by chocolate ice cream, a fatal Chicago heat wave, a grandfather's saxophone legacy, and an Insectarium. Listed like this, these topics seem like dots of paint on a pointilist canvas. But, stepping back, and back, and back, the book becomes an impressionist landscape of our deepest passions.

Frank does not lay out his story easily. Like Charlotte the spider, he plays out his lines slowly, weaving his threads together. The reader gets passages of prose poetry mixed with lists of arcane fact. The result is a blend of reality and myth that questions the very fabric of narrative:

Myth as quite possible.

Myth as commodity, as bought and sold, as served

with a side of potato salad.

Myth, in Portugal, encourages the mosquito to eat

leather and turn into a flesh-eating cow.

Myth, in India, inspires the tribe to receive all nec-

essary sustenance, from the smells of food, partic-

ularly the apple, and, when traveling, to carry the

apple with them, as they will perish in the absence

of its smell.

Myth as On Special!, as Ladies Night Discount!

Myth as embedded in our mouths.

Frank's Ahab quest in the book seems simple: to find out the details of Moses Harvey's discovery and photographing of a specimen of the giant squid in Newfoundland in 1874. His prize, however, remains elusive. Hiding behind locked doors. Trapped in essays written by Moses Harvey himself, where Harvey fashions his own myths of discovery. Ultimately, Frank's subject is even more difficult to capture than the giant squid itself:

And we're always preparing the next ghost, still in its larval state. This time, let's give it a tailored sheet, a wedding dress, a bow tie, a nice clean shave . . . We're preparing the next ghost, as we do with any myth, to best scare us, and define our fear. So far, BOO! is the best we've come up with.

Frank's book is larva and moth, myth and fact. In his explorations, he discovers truths about himself and his family. Poppa Dave, a whale of a man who, eventually, succumbs to his own tentacular mantra: "There's always room for ice cream." The compulsion to eat, even when sated. The need to pursue impossible pursuits that slip away like the giant squid in an ocean of black ink.

Take some time in these last dog days of summer. Pick up Preparing the Ghost, and get trapped in Matthew Gavin Frank's narrative web. It's obsessively fragile and miraculously intricate.

I give it four out of four tentacles.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 LOVE THIS BOOK... 15 juillet 2014
Par Matt - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I love this book. I had a real hard time putting it down, but had to pace myself so that I could savoir every page. Matthew pings from the past to the present seamlessly with humor, history and made up facts. Just be sure to have ice cream in your freezer before you begin.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Like the suckers of a Giant Squid... 3 juin 2015
Par Karen J Weyant - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
"Can we ever really kill a myth?" author Matthew Gavin Frank asks in Preparing the Ghost. "Even though the giant squid has long been proved actual, the beast retains the mythological narrative, can't shake its sea-monster designation. The legend lives on."

It's the idea of myths and legends that is explored in Frank's newest book. Yes, the cover sports a subtitle, "An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer." And yes, the book starts out in a typical linear narrative with an introduction of Reverend Moses Harvey, an amateur naturalist in the 1870s who is obsessed with the Giant Squid. Indeed, as readers, we even get to see his captured squid in a black-and-white photograph that is found at the very start of the book. (The picture, somehow, reminds me of the monsters in the old monster movies of the 50s and 60s -- even though the picture was taken decades before).

Still readers venturing into Preparing the Ghost should be prepared. This is not a linear narrative or a typical biography. Instead, Frank weaves myth, science, history, and even personal memoir throughout Harvey's story. Indeed, there are even glimpses of Frank's own research process, including his efforts to find out more information about Harvey and his family and the very landscape that helped to capture the myth of the giant squid. Yet, even though the author wanders, he always returns to Harvey's story and the mysterious squid. Any reader who sticks with the author's meanderings will be treated to intriguing history, interesting mythology and strong lyrical writing -- and most of all stories that will grab a hold of you and not let go.

Sorta, I guess, like the suckers of a Giant Squid.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Obsess Yourself 29 octobre 2014
Par Brandon Davis Jennings - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The first disclaimer here is that I've also read Pot Farm by MGF, and I loved it. So that says something about my taste and expectations. The second disclaimer is that I have had food and drink with the author and I enjoyed myself while doing so. The third disclaimer is that I've read things by authors I adore that I would never in a million years recommend to anyone else (True at First Light by Hem-dog), and I've eaten food and pounded beers and had a downright debauching good time with writers whose work I wouldn't recommend either.

This book is fantastic. If you are at all interested in the giant squid and the kind of obsession it can create for those who hunted it, and for those who now hunt the hunters' stories, you must read this. MGF gives us an opportunity to live the myth of the people who tried their damndest to concretize the spectre of the squid back in a time without digital cameras spilling out of every pocket.

This is not a book that focuses on the facts or science as much as it focuses on the truth of how the lack of facts and science can impact a person's obsession.

It's likely that once you finish reading this you will want to know more about the giant squid. That is not an accident. This book tempts you to obsess, and it's up to you to decide whether you are capable of dealing with the repercussions of the obsession, should you choose to accept it.
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