In The Inconsistencies: A Comical Tragedy in Two Parts, Ilango Villoth has essentially rewritten Tolstoy’s A Confession and Melville’s Moby Dick in his own words. The book’s two parts follow the same basic structure and formula as the original works they reference, but diverge on a line by line basis.
Villoth’s ability to imitate an archaic writing style is quite remarkable, and it’s easy to be fooled in believing The Inconsistencies could have been written over a hundred years ago. The biggest “inconsistency’ here, perhaps, is the fleeting sense that one is actually reading Moby Dick or A Confession, only one that isn’t quite as it should be. In part two, the section dedicated to Moby Dick, the characters names are changed. Captain Ahab becomes Jack Fiddler, though his inherent nature and obsessions remain similar.
Readers of the original texts will likely be interested in what Villoth has done here. It’s a bold experiment, but one does wonder what the purpose of that experiment is. Villoth doesn’t offer any sort of framework for the book’s purpose, and readers are largely left to their own devices, with the blurb describing the book as putting “two of history’s greatest writers in conversation” not fully realized. However, the process of reading two literary classics written by a completely different, contemporary author makes for an intriguing read.