Preparing the Ghost (Paperback)

An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer

By Matthew Gavin Frank

Liveright Publishing Corporation, 9781631490569, 320pp.

Publication Date: June 29, 2015



In 1874, Moses Harvey eccentric Newfoundland reverend and amateur naturalist was the first person to photograph the near-mythic giant squid, draping it over his shower curtain rod to display its magnitude. In Preparing the Ghost, what begins as Harvey's story becomes spectacularly slippery and many-armed ( as Matthew Gavin Frank winds his narrative tentacles around history, creative nonfiction, science, memoir, and meditations about the interrelated nature of them all. In his full-hearted, lyrical style, Frank weaves in playful forays about his trip to Harvey's Newfoundland home, his own childhood and family history, and a catalog of peculiar facts that recall Melville's story of obsession with another deep-sea dwelling leviathan. Totally original and haunting (Flavorwire), Preparing the Ghost is a delightfully unpredictable inquiry into the big, beautiful human impulse to obsess.