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Green Shadows, White Whale: A Novel of Ray Bradbury's Adventures Making Moby Dick with John Huston in Ireland Paperback – October 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380789663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380789665
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #731,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The title of this lighthearted, beguiling autobiographical novel is a play on Peter Viertel's White Hunter, Black Heart , which, like this book, dealt with the legendary director John Huston. This is Bradbury's comic account of his trip to Ireland to write the screenplay for Huston's adaptation of Moby-Dick . The movie itself is merely a background constant that anchors this series of vivid, ear-tingling vignettes and anecdotes. Bradbury describes his awed dealings with the erratic, eccentric and impulsive director, and his delight upon being accepted among the regulars at an atmospheric pub called Heeber Finn's. It's a great place to hoist a wee drop and listen to stories told in the best Irish brogue. Finn himself imaginatively tells of the time when George Bernard Shaw supposedly dropped into his establishment. Then there's the community's encounter with a "willowy" (read: gay) stranger and his crew of ballet dancers, a man who--to everyone's surprise-- proves to be no mean raconteur. Bradbury's prose is as vibrant and distinctive as the landscape in which these delightful tales are set. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Bradbury goes mainstream with a hymn to Ireland and alcohol, focusing on writing a screenplay with John Huston for the director's film Moby Dick. Set in Dublin and the Irish countryside where legendary director Huston has settled in as a squire, the story and the Irish gift for gab allow Bradbury's love of metaphor to find a basis he's never known before. With all of the silver-tongued folk speaking inspiredly in the normal tenor of their stout-and whiskey-fueled conversation, Bradbury spouts eloquence as naturally and exuberantly as John Millington Synge--and fine talk it is you'll be hearing. Young Bradbury arrives at the Huston estate in awe of Huston and instantly finds himself in company with a laughing ogre given to whiskey pranks and the famed man's false bonhomie. The episodic plot circles about a wedding that Huston decides to throw for a longtime friend, less about the actual scriptwriting and difficulties met in harnessing the White Whale to the needs of Hollywood. Other eddies include the (fictitious) arrival of teetotaler George Bernard Shaw at Heeber Finn's pub, during which the old renegade outtalks even the most inspired of the whiskey- laced barfolk; the pub's reaction to a visiting team of gay ballet dancers, which turns wittily on Finn's recognition that the Irish male is closer in nature to these gays than one would suspect; and on Huston's savaging of Bradbury's self-esteem. It rains twelve days out of ten in Ireland, we discover: ``I stood looking at the gray-stone streets and the gray-stone clouds, watching the frozen people trudge by exhaling gray funeral plumes from their wintry mouths, dressed in their smoke-colored suits and soot-black coats, and I felt the white grow in my hair.'' Despite the apt but sad romanticizing of alcohol, and an unfortunate title echo of Peter Viertel's novel White Hunter, Black Heart (about Viertel's scripting The African Queen with Huston), Bradbury's triumph. He has never written better. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 - June 5, 2012) published some 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was twenty years old. Among his many famous works are 'Fahrenheit 451,' 'The Illustrated Man,' and 'The Martian Chronicles.'

Customer Reviews

The problem is that nothing worth of a whole book happened there.
Diego Zlotogora
In Green Shadows, White Whale, he shows us a great view of Ireland as seen through his acquired pub friends, as they tell him stories, and through the people he meets.
Nancy Ziemba
It is also a work of fiction because he combined some of his previous short story writings about Ireland into the book.
papaphilly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christian Deichert on August 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Ray Bradbury was a science fiction icon, but there's a reason he didn't write "The Playboy of the Western World" or "Finnegan's Wake." The dialogue is all you get from this book. The rest of the book is a thin vehicle to get you from one conversation to the next. There are few descriptions and few insights. The dialogue itself is very humorous at parts, and in others it's obvious that this is Bradbury writing how the conversations should have gone, not how they really went. I've thoroughly enjoyed other works by Bradbury, but this wasn't one of them.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike Springer on January 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Green Shadows, White Whale is a tale about Ray Bradbury's travels in Ireland while helping John Huston write the screenplay for Moby Dick. The writing is absolutely wonderful. I have read many books in my life but I have rarely read one so beautifully written and well composed. There were paragraphs and passages that I read over two and three times simply because they were so tasty. The story is broken up into chapters which comprise little subplots of their own. This makes for easy reading because you can read a chapter or two at a time and still enjoy the entire book. Read this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
for the life of me i cannot understand why this book is out of print. i found it by chance in a used bookstore, and it was the greatest discovery of my life. this is a fantastic tale, about so much more than bradbury's experiences writing the screenplay for moby dick. it expresses in its eloquent and beautiful language a deeply moving, realistic optimism and love for life. it makes you want to go out and sing and dance and shout from mountaintops and do all those other things they do in songs. and above all it makes you want to share it with others.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Green Shadows is a memoir of the time Bradbury spent in Ireland in the 1950's working on a screenplay for Moby Dick. Most of the book deals with his impression of Ireland and the Irish, as recounted in personal experiences, possibly embellished with poetic license. His dealings with director John Huston make up the subject for the rest of the book. Like Bradbury, I am a fan of Huston's movies. Huston's wide-ranging choice of subject matter and his ability to translate literary work to the screen are impressive. Unfortunately, the portrait Bradbury draws of Huston reveals a character who is usually filled with bonhomie but who can easily veer into sly bullying - a fascinating man, but one who may be difficult to work with. At the same time, Bradbury is courageous enough to reveal his own vulnerabilities in such a situation. I found the book to be engaging throughout and very well written.
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By Hawk21 on August 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read this book when I was much younger and loved it (definitely 5* then, now 4 3/4*). Actually, I love almost anything Irish, and that hasn't changed. Decided to reread GS,WW after a trip to Ireland. My slightly revised impression is that while very well written, the book seems to be trying a bit too hard to impress through descriptions and similes. While it does not go into Irish history at all, it shows insights into and love of the Irish character ("character" emphasized). Learned quite a bit about John Ford, a fascinating character whom I had only known through his films. GS,WW is often serious and thought-provoking, but is filled with many humorous and even laugh-out-loud incidents. A fun read.
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Format: Paperback
I had just finished "Moby Dick" its own self, and thought, what to read next?
Well, this came to hand. Definitely a petit four of a book, or even a Jordan
almond, after the hearty, iodine-rich meal that is The Whale. That said, it was
a quick and entertaining read. I had read most of, if not all, the Irish Stories
with which Bradbury larded this trim and clean-limbed goose of a book, which may
have helped. Having David Snell-Orkney and friends sit in on the Anthem Sprinting
was a delightful surprise.

That said - yes, it's a five-finger-exercise by The Old Master, and so what? I didn't sign
on thinking I'd be getting life-changing insights into what happened when Ray Bradbury and
Herman Melville shipped out as crewmates - but I did learn enough to know that I'd like to
see the movie now. I also learned that John Huston was (in all likelihood) not the most
pleasant of people from whom to take orders, and that Ray Bradbury was more capable of clear-eyed
malice than I would have expected.

Also, vide the Wikipedia article on this book - the young-old men, willowy and canary as they are,
who accompany Mr. Snell-Orkney may be many things, but Sicilian they are not. Nor, despite the
narrator's verbal dexterity, are they literally ballet dancers.

So, in summation, this amuse-bouche of a book satisfied my desire to read something Moby-Dick related,
without taking up too much time or energy. Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, whereever you are!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So many people think of Ray Bradbury as a Science Fiction writer, but he really is a writer of great dimension. In Green Shadows, White Whale, he shows us a great view of Ireland as seen through his acquired pub friends, as they tell him stories, and through the people he meets. Written almost as a collection of short stories, his use of words is poetic! We also get a glimpse of the strong character of John Huston. Bradbury plays the upper crust, fox hunting, privileged Ireland against the common man with humor and imagination. I thoroughly enjoyed his book!
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