(From the publisher):
"A novel it is not, unless a novel means forty-five conversations held on board a steamer, conducted by passengers who might pass for the errata of creation."
Thus a reviewer of The Confidence-Man
, Melville's last complete novel, summed up contemporary bafflement at a work whose ambiguities form its very core and set it years ahead of its time.
Like a microcosm of America, the Fidele, a Mississippi steamboat bound for New Orleans, floats downstream without reaching its goal, its passengers all the victims or abusers of trust or confidence. Melville's confidence man (or men)—deft, fraudulent, constantly shifting—can be seen as a central symbol of American cultural history.
Original title: The Confidence-Man
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction