NO, I will not ever read anything from Melville again, Frank Muller on the otherhand is great.
Yes, he is always wonderful.
Everyone exept Ahab and the Whale.
Dont waste three days of your life you will not ever get back.
Non Fiction Reader
This book takes so many side roads that one wonders if there even is a story somewhere in there. Short, incisive excusions may actually help the story and draw the reader into it. It is not the case with this story. It's almost like Melville wanted to show his erudition and lost sight of his goal. I hate to say it, but the movie was better.
I had the misfortune of "saving" this story for a long vacation drive back home. The story is so boring that it should come with a warning label: "Do not drive or use heavy equipment when reading (listening)." This is especially the case during the later part of the first part (book) and almost the entire second part. I found myself so distracted that my truck and my towed boat were weaving from shoulder to median. The best way to listen is to click forward. I found myself clicking forward on my iPod for large sections only to return to the last coherent part of the story.
There's nothing wrong with the characters if they had a prominent place in the story. Mostly they're just ciphers so Mellvile can expound on some subject, or another, that is so distracting that you forget about the white whale.
An extraordinary work of action and contemplation, adventure and spirituality, realism and poetry. Beautifully and dramatically read by Frank Muller – a finely tuned and gripping performance of a book that feels like it was meant to be read aloud.
Frank Muller is the greatest audiobook narrator who has ever lived and Melville is a brilliant story teller. The two together form a perfect product in this great audiobook
The descriptive nature a Melville puts you right in the story. His ability to over-describe without it being noticeable to the reader/listener makes it so you can almost smell the old wood and sea salt.
Frank Muller's reading of the novel is spot on. The tones and cadences used match perfectly with the lead character. The performance reflects the neuroticy of Ishmail's extremely descriptive narrative.
I have already recommended this audiobook to friends. It's the narration that does it. The book itself needs neither defense nor sales pitch, but the narration could make or break it. Frank Muller maintains an almost impossibly measured and robust pace throughout this epic. I suppose it might be possible for a narrator to do better, to more precisely personify the different characters as if in a play rather than in a book. Anton Lesser did that in his almost impossibly brilliant narration of Tristram Shandy for Audible. While Lesser's performance was dizzyingly skillful, it may have slowed the pace too much for the reading of an epic like Moby Dick. Muller perhaps could have dug deeper into more idiosyncratic portrayals of the characters (although he did pretty darned well as it is), but I suspect that might have slowed things down too much. I often speed-up my listening, using Audible's function to listen at 1.25 or 1.5 x the original narration speed when a book drags or covers information I don't need. Even with Melville's periodic expositions on the history and zoology of whaling, I never felt the need to speed it up. Muller consistently runs a champion marathoner's race. As the book unfolds, Muller's powers of patience and endurance allow the listener to more fully appreciate the staggering genius of Melville's modulation of tempo as the novel builds to its ultimate crescendo. Yes, this book slows down at times, but that's intentional. Muller keeps you moving through the fast and slow patches with ease and good measure. I eventually came to see the wisdom of the occasional detour into biology. By the time the reader/listener actually meets The Great White Whale, we've gotten to know the species inside and out, in science and in legend, and that serves to make the final battle all the more personal and intense. Another reviewer has already said this, but I'll echo it: if you can't make it through this admittedly difficult (but well-worth it) book with this narration, you simply cannot make it through this book at all.
Starbuck stood out for me, but I have to admit that was because of the association his character bears to a certain contemporary purveyor of caffeinated beverages. He's the only one who made a real attempt to call Ahab to sense, to repeatedly question the insane quest of his commander.
Chapter 42 is probably my favorite. I was listening to it while at the gym. When it was over, I felt like giving a standing ovation, but I refrained out of respect for my fellow gym-goers. When Melville delves into the symbolism of what The Great White Whale means, he does the analysis for the analyzer. It's a breathtaking chapter, but I don't think it could carry the meaning and power that it does without the reader first having reached it via the previous 41 chapters.
I'm not sure that I'll ever try to watch a film adaptation of this novel. Movies tend to reduce a novel to little more than plot and character. This novel masters those things, but transcends them. Perhaps, though, were I to indulge in Ahab-worthy hubris and attempt to make a movie out of this book, the tag line might be, "Is Fate the hunter, or the hunted?", or "Do you hunt your fate, or does it hunt you?"
I listen to many Audible books, but most of my listening is for the purposes of my work. This was one of my first listens, in a very long time, for the purpose of pure enjoyment. I also read a lot "with my eyes", as it were, and the vast majority of that reading is also dominated by work. But my original love was of novels. This listen was a long-overdue reminder of why I loved reading in the first place. To read, or even to listen to, a book written with a pure love, respect, and mastery of language and storytelling, is a deep, deep joy. But to experience a book like this, that grapples with and helps us to understand the most crucial puzzles of human existence —that is a blessing. If I hadn't been able to listen while at the gym, or doing dishes or laundry, or driving to a far-away job, I don't think I would have read this book until retirement. I am so grateful that the technology exists to have allowed me to experience this now, even while I continue to be overwhelmed by the responsibilities of my work.
This may be inapplicable to an Audible review, but this book makes me want to watch the original "Jaws" movie again. I think that the writers of that movie were heavily influenced by _Moby_Dick_.
The narrator did a great job but the story itself drug. There were many chapters describing parts of a ship and parts of a whale. It just didn't hold my attention.