|Papeete Bay, Tahiti|
Le Magasin Pittoresque (Paris, 1843) via Shutterstock
OMOO, OR ADVENTURES IN THE SOUTH SEAS, by Hermann Melville. (Murray’s Home and Colonial Library) two parts.
This is a clever and amusing book, and if no higher qualities were demanded to entitle it to a place in Murray’s Library, it might pass muster. But the general character of the series is so high, that we confess we must regard it, like the Typee and Toby of the same author, as no better than an intruder. It is impossible to judge from internal evidence whether the book is fact or fiction, or, what is most likely, a mixture of both. One thing at least is certain, that Mr. Melville, by his own shewing, is a thorough scamp, utterly destitute of principle, and as far as we can discover in the picture he gives of himself in this his personal narrative, without one redeeming quality. It is impossible to trust to his facts, and the nature of his book forbids it to be received as fiction.
--Royal Cornwall Gazette, Friday, 28 May 1847 (found at The British Newspaper Archive)