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I love the book Moby Dick so I had my doubts about an abridged version. What would be left out? Then I thought, there are some reasonably good movies that take a long book and distill it down to a two-hour experience. Why not a six-hour audio book?
It's definitely worth the listen. The narrator does an excellent job with all the characters and you can tell the book was carefully edited to retain the flavor and pacing of the original novel. I enjoyed this thoroughly and would recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy one of the all time great adventure tales but not invest the endless hours it takes to read the book. Or, if you've read it before and want to re-experience the book (as I did), this is a fun way to do so. It's also a great introduction to the book for anyone who is not familiar with the story. Very well done!
MOBY DICK, for my money the crown jewel of American literature, is an enormous book and presents enormous challenges to adapt and abridge. This audio version is told with spirit and vigor, illuminating the surprisingly light moments of Melville's novel with particular humor. The characterizations are distinct and highly memorable. Quite rightly, this is an Ahab to terrify! I am deeply sorry, however, they decided to cut "The Whiteness of the Whale" chapter -- which has to be one of the absolute pinnacles of Melville's prose. Alas. But for that omission, this would have been almost a perfect listening experience. Give it a try.
If you recall Moby Dick as a boring book from school, forget it. This abridged version cuts out the endless detailed description of the whaling process (leaving in enough to keep it realistic) and focuses on the drama of the hunt. The narrator is excellent. Could not stop listening to this book.
All these years I have heard about how good Moby Dick was supposed to be, but I dreaded what seemed like a dreary, boring book. I thought of it like eating rutabegas - it must be good for you because it tastes awful. Thus I was pleasantly surprised when the story started out interesting and then kept getting better. Now I realize why it's been considered a classic, because it has stood the test of time. By the end, I couldn't get out of the car because I didn't want to turn it off. The narrator too is excellent. At the beginning he seems just ordinary in his Starbuck character, but he really shines when speaking Ahab's lines. The emotion was conveyed better than any other reader I've heard. So if you are considering Moby Dick, give it a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Towering. Audacious. Overblown. Musical. Haunting. Breathtaking. Human. Poetic. Soaring. Thrilling. Epic. Gut-wrenching. In short, amazing.
Obviously, I loved this book. My advice to anyone who is on the fence about taking it up:
1. Read “In the Heart of the Sea” by Nathanial Philbrick first. This is a non-fiction book about a ship that really was sunk by a huge whale in the 1820’s. Melville knew this true story, and certainly based some of Moby-Dick on it. I think this book before Moby-Dick gave me a greater appreciation for Moby-Dick.
2. Consider reading “Why Read Moby-Dick?” also by Nathaniel Philbrick. I don’t think this book is as good an intro to Moby-Dick as “In the Heart of the Sea” but I did pick up a few overall themes and ideas that helped orient me as I read Moby-Dick.
3. Read the abridged version of Moby-Dick. I actually listened to it as an abridged audiobook read by William Hootkins. It was just six hours long but I was enthralled.
I had heard so many horror stories about people being forced to read this book in school that I was actually afraid to read it. But now that I have experienced it, I feel that I am ready to tackle the entire novel. Not today, but someday soon. Because it was so good I really didn’t want it to end.
Call me Ishmael. There are so many cultural references which are derived from this classic. It is an exciting tale of adventure that is still relevant today. I listened because it thought it would be good for me to take on a classic this summer, but I truly enjoyed it!
I would recommend this book not only as a great classic but tremendously engaging story.
The insane (wooden-leg) Ahab is the most unforgettable image.
The scene of cursing Ahab drug overboard and into the depths of the emotionless sea.
"Speak Ye, damn ye or I killee!
Narrator William Hootkins brings a performance worthy of the highest kudos.
I was skeptical about how accessible a 'classic' might be, but thought I'd give it a try. I was totally drawn in and had a hard time pausing it when I had to. - The narration is first rate and (not a 'cheesy' dramatization.) - I'm (almost) ready to go back for the unabridged version! -
The narration starts off slowly because the narrator seems to be over-pronouncing all his words. But once he gets into the flow, this is a gem. His rendition of the various characters is excellent and varied. He also imbues his narration with a humor that you might not normally expect, as well as the pathos that you would. Exciting, educational, adventurous and fun -- everything you would want in a reading of Moby Dick.
"Masterful - say no more!"
Personally I found the audio version to be even more captivating than the printed edition, but I think that's just down to personal preference.
You can't really compare MD to any other book, it is one of a kind. The story, the issues Melville highlights, the way you are placed into the story, the detail, the excitement…..all in all this is a masterpiece of literature. MD should be on the readers/listeners bucket list of books to read before you die. Simply a must.
Call me, Ismael.
Firstly, Moby Dick is my favourite book of all time, so maybe a review coming from me will sound a "little" bias. The audio version of this story was so well narrated I felt I was actually onboard the ship searching for the infamous sperm whale that robbed our Captain Queqeg of his sanity (and his right leg!).
You are taken on a time travel journey with this book. Herman Melville has a talent for describing the raw conditions that waling sailors in the 1800s had to endure, and the harsh hours and risks they had to take on a daily basis. This is not an easy or lighthearted read but an intense and captivating thriller, so if that's the type of audiobook you're after, this is the one for you.
The abridged version is a nice way to ease yourself into the world of Moby Dick. If you enjoy this version as much as I think you will, you can always go for the unabridged "full monty" version, which is four times longer.
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