Pierre; or, The Ambiguities Review (Amazon)- Jackson Gutshall

Pierre; or, The Ambiguities Amazon Review

In a quick basic plot summary, Pierre; or, The Ambiguities is a novel by Herman Melville. Pierre is the main character of the story and goes on a journey throughout the novel. After his fathers passing Pierre must figure out If Isabelle is truly his sister and also figure out how to approach his life. Pierre ends up falling for his step sister Isabelle and then the story degenerates into a super weird three way relationship between Pierre, his wife Lucy, and his sister Isabelle. The novel ends with all of the characters dead after Pierre goes to jail for murdering his cousin.

Along with all of the other ambiguous events in the book, I find it ambiguous why anybody would ever want to read such a slow an taxing novel.  The novel drags on much further than necessary and makes it hard for the reader to continue reading. The slowness of the novel is made even worse by the fact that the language is very hard to read and understand. Uses of complex words and syntax make it very hard to stay focused on the plot. One more thing that slows down the story are weird sidetracks that Melville takes on the story that drag on for far to long such as Pierre’s stop at the Memnon rock. Another problem I had with this novel was that the usage of philosophy just weighs other important aspects of the plot down and makes the novel harder to read.  Another problem I had with this novel was that I felt certain parts of it were added based upon other famous works. Melville kills off everyone in the final scene such as Shakespeare did in Hamlet and he also builds an Oedipus complex between Pierre and Isabelle. Melville was trying to write his own unique work but he reverted back to basing parts of it off of the classics in my opinion.

Overall I thought this was a poorly written work that drags on for much to long in places. The language makes it to hard to read and parts of the novel make it feel as if the author was way overthinking. If the story was condensed and language was simpler it could help but I still do not think it would be very good. The plot was at least somewhat interesting, but if you want a similar juicy ending to this novel that is a relatively older work just go read Hamlet, it has a much better plot with the same ending. The answer of whether or not to read this novel is not very ambiguous, but just to clarify since Herman Melville never does, do not read this book!

Review: 1/5 Stars