About: “Losing Moby Dick”

Bizarrely perhaps, the motivation for the story – and the initial situation Jack finds himself in – is entirely based on my own experience i.e. one day I realised “Moby Dick” was missing from my bookshelves and it should have been there. I had no idea why it wasn’t there. I never throw books away… It was very disturbing.

Having that as a basis – and Jack as a guinea pig – provided a great platform for trying to think about what books ‘mean’ to us, about our relationships with them not just in terms of the words inside, but as physical ‘things’. And although the story is ostensibly about the search for a book, it quickly becomes more than that; it’s about Jack’s search for his past, for elements of his soul almost. Another Everyman. And I think it is pause-worthy to imagine, if we were placed in Jack’s situation and had to face the choices he did, what would we do? How many doors would we go through? When would we stop?

The bookshop in the story – “Twerton’s” – is based on a very real second-hand bookshop I used to frequent when I was at University in Southampton, all six floors and creaking stairs of it! What went on in the basement of that bookshop I have no idea, though I’d be pretty confident that it was nothing akin to what Jack experiences in “Twerton’s”… But maybe, just maybe…

Losing Moby Dick

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