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Arvin Kraft loves his complicated family, but they talk about him: how slow he is, how they need to share the burden of caring for him, how tired they all are. He hides in the walls of the family’s old house in Boston and listens to their laments. And he also discovers there a lead box of old papers. Slowly he reads them and finds they are the original manuscript of Melville’s Moby-Dick, long thought to have been lost in an 1850s fire at his publisher. The manuscript is valuable enough to save the family’s failing construction business if marketed properly. But Arvin wants more and Professor Thorne is the Melville expert who can help. Arvin and the professor take turns telling this tale with its lyric resonances of Moby-Dick, the specter of the curse of Ahab and strange deaths, and the scramble of greed as the manuscript becomes more valuable by the hour.



Michael Strelow was an educator, having taught in the English Department of Willamette University from 1980 to 2015. His first novel, The Greening of Ben Brown (2005), was a finalist for the Ken Kesey Novel Prize (Hawthorne Books).  His second novel, Henry: A Novel of Beer and Love in the West (2014), is based on the life of 19th century brewer and entrepreneur, Henry Weinhard.  His third and fourth novels, Some Assembly Required (2017) and The Moby-Dick Blues (March 2018), are published by John Hunt Books, Roundfire imprint. He has published poetry, short stories and creative non-fiction in many literary and commercial magazines such as: Orchid Magazine, Oregon Quarterly, Sou’wester, Cutbank, Northwest Review, Kansas Quarterly, Mid-west Poetry Review, Poetry Midwest, Bellingham Review, Willow Spring. His non-fiction academic books include: Kesey and An Anthology of Northwest Writing: 1900-1950. He lives in Salem, OR.  Visit https://michaelstrelow.wordpress.com.

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