Have you decided to buy an unabridged version of Moby Dick, but are not sure which narrator to choose? This review is for you.
When I bought Anthony Heald's version of Moby Dick in early 2010, it seemed like the best unabridged version available: the reviews were strong and the sample of Heald's reading seemed imaginative and engaging.
But the reality was that I could not listen past the first few hours, though I tried on many occasions to keep going. The problem? Heald over-acts, and I find it really hard to sympathize with his interpretation of Ishmael's narrative voice. If the Ishmael in your head is crafty, cunning, is always on the verge of running his hands together slyly, and sounds a bit like a closet-case, then you won't mind Heald's reading. But for me, it's way overdone. The sample's breathy emphasis on the word "MAGIC" will give you a hint of what is to come even in far more pedestrian moments that don't merit this kind of tone.
I've decided to download the newest version (March 2010) read by Norman Dietz. Will let you all know how that one compares.
This is arguably the finest American novel, by the perfect narrator. Heald's voice is American, amazingly expressive, diverse for the different characters, and easy to listen to for hours. He brings out the humor, illuminates the anguish and tragedy, and even keeps you interested in the descriptive passages about whales and whaling. I can’t say enough about Heald as a conductor to this great book.
As for Moby Dick itself, I came back to it decades after I had first read it as a teenager. Now I have a much deeper appreciation of the nuances in the many thematic threads that Melville weaves through his tale, and I am blown away by his writing. I really encourage you to read it for the first time, or to return to it. It is truly a great novel. And a funny one.
If you are not well read and you are not sure what to choose, know this; most people who are well read and lets say, are about to die, if given a choice of one book before going, might choose this book because its long and its THE masterpiece of writing and you would die after experiencing the highest form of human thought.
It took me over a month because I had to go back over and over to swim in it (tee hee).
The narrator performs as if he has been honored to do this genious work.
I can't believe I waited so long to listen to this American classic. It paints a full picture of the time period, the whaling industry and it's motivations. It's a great audible.com experience.
This is not a book that can be appreciated with just one listen. Because it is a Classic it must be read again and savored. The characters are described with great depth and even humorous as we all are in some way. The story is interesting as it gives insight into 19th century life on the coast and at sea. It's truly amazing how whales were classified with so much detail and accuracy. Last but not least is the moral that you draw from having heard this masterpiece. The narrator is not too distracting but fair so I only give it 4 stars.
Wonderful to step back in time and experience a realistic whaling voyage artistically described. Not quite a page turner.
Heald's narration of Moby Dick is astonishing. No word sounds wrong. To the contrary, the narration itself is a flawless work of art.
It is understandable why Moby Dick seems pointless and tedious to some readers (I disagree, but understand).
With his voice, Heald almost miraculously reflects the novel with meaning and purpose.
There are many chapters worth listening to over and over for the delight.
True, some chapters, even with Heald, are dry, although the dry chapters themselves have a point which Heald conveys perfectly.
Moby Dick can be compared to other contemporaneous novels (roughly speaking) of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, and the thought seen to be as remarkable, although an entirely different, American, perspective on existence.
Human existence and human nature are the amazing point of art, whatever that point may be.
Heald imparts a deep humanity in his narration. Whether Heald personally is as deep as his narration, who knows. Maybe it is a fluke. For whatever reason, he succeeds.
The colorful characters from all over the world.
Queequeg. He is just unusual and fun in his own way.
No, not yet.
It was to long but I had it done in 2 weeks listening when I could.
Moby Dick is a long book with a lot of slow parts. It can be hard to read through without falling asleep but when listening with a narration such as Anthony Heald, there is no boring!!
The characters and Anthony Heald's voices for them...fun!! He did a fantastic job for each character especially in giving them their own uniqueness.
Anthony Heald made it seem as if he wasnt just telling the story he at times seemed to be acting it out too. He really made it all come to life. I never thought I would enjoy Moby Dick as much as I did listening to Anthony Heald's narration.
Travel a lot for work and spend a good deal of time in the car.
Of course its a classic. it really gives you an inside view of the whaleing industry in the days before oil from the ground. All machines and lamps used whale oil. No industrial revoloution without it.
I have listened to some horrible narrators but this one is definatly one of the good ones.
The book needs no introduction. Part melodrama, part encyclopedia (one comes away with a fairly intimate sense of the 1850s-era whaling industry and the whaling life), part philosophy, all driving forward like a ship under full sail. The last third of the book is as fine writing as we have.
The narration does all this justice. Heald has fashioned a voice and cadence which seem the man Ishmael himself, and bring his world to life -- perhaps more vividly to life than scanning the words on a printed page would match. One should not be without this experience.