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Evoking Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, this is a story of interlocking tales from a group of steamboat passengers traveling down the Mississippi toward New Orleans. Aboard the Fidèle can be found all manner of con men, from those selling stock in failing companies and herbal cure-all "medicines" to those who are raising money for supposed charitable organizations and those who simply ask for money outright. One man sneaks aboard ship to test the so-called confidence of the passengers, and everyone is forced to confront that in which he places his trust before journey's end.
Mixing his trademark satirical style with allegory and metaphysical treatise, Melville's The Confidence-Man is a precursor to the 20th-century literary preoccupations with nihilism, existentialism, and absurdism.
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By Amazon Customer on 05-25-17
great themes and concepts, poor story
this review is almost solely based on Melville's narrative in this story. though capable of great works like Moby Dick and Bartleby the Scribner, this is almost like a rough, rough draft of those concepts. the story doesn't really go anywhere. it just repeats the same theme through conversations between various characters on a boat.
the narrator was alright but not great.
I can understand why Harold Bloom calls this story almost unreadable.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful