When Melville's father died in 1832, the young man's financial security went too. For a while he turned to school-mastering and clerking, but failed to make a sustainable income. In 1840 he signed up on the whaler, Acushnet, out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. He was just 21. A whaler's life turned out to be both arduous and dangerous, and in 1842, Melville deserted ship. Out of this experience and a wealth of printed sources, Melville crafted his masterpiece.
©1987 Recorded Books, LLC.; (P)1987 Recorded Books, LLC.
Very good narrator. The author frequently deep dives into unnecessary biological detail which is not applied or relevant to the events of the story. Some of this is okay but like the captain, a bit overboard.
I heard this book described recently as a tale of hunting a great animal interspersed with treatises on all the different types of rope in the world. The detail of the whaling enterprise of the mid-19th century was certainly treated exhaustively. The action, when it happened, was exciting and compelling but, perhaps like whaling itself, these were brief interludes in a somewhat dull routine.
I'd recommend it as something to be read if you want to be a serious reader but not just for enjoyment.
The Audible recording was very well done.
I would probably love this book in an abridge edition. To much description mixed in with the story. Comprehensive if you wish to learn everything about old fashioned whaling.
Not enough excitement in the reading.
As I stated, too much detail on whales not needed for the story.
I understand why this is a classic book, and it is truly a wonderful story. I would prefer to read something that I don't have to force myself to listen to.
I was Surprised by all the Nautical knowledge they shared.. Did not enjoy the Book, too long a narrative to begin with, for me, I have no interest there.. By the time story started, I was tired of the voice... did not really get interested....
All the Nautical information, in the beginning.. Could maybe move to the rear..
My Rating was based on my dissatisfaction with Mobey Dick.... You know what you Like, not me.. thanks Kat R.
Not to discredit the book, learned a lot about whaling in the nearly 100 chapters describing in great detail odds and ends. The few chapters that actually told the story were fascinating.
The audible reading was VERY well done and probably the only way I could have finished this book.
This really seems to be the way the novel was meant to be experienced. The narrator brings out a lot of richness, particularly comic notes, that can be hard to pick up when you're reading through chapter after chapter of wildly inaccurate theories about whales and ecology.
There are parts of Moby Dick that are exciting and interesting, and I was totally invested in the story. There are also incredibly long sections that are detailed accounts of the finer points of whaling. I listen to audiobooks while I drive, and I found myself zoning out a lot during those sections. I'm glad I read it, because it is a classic, but it's not an "easy" listen. It's not hard to understand, it's just long.
Everybody knows the story of Moby Dick so there is no point in trying to critique it. The narrator is Frank Muller and he is fantastic. I first heard Muller reading Sea Wolf available in Audible.com but unfortunately not the UK equivelant. Muller has the perfect voice for adventure yarns and his reading of Moby Dick is so well suited. I was saddened by his untimely death as I consider him one of the best audiobook narrators. It is he that makes this classic novel very much a classic audiobook.
Two things i've been doing for many years; listening to audiobooks and trying to read Moby Dick-normally getting about 3 pages in and giving up, and then telling people what a load of rubbish it is. Frank Muller is for me the king of narrators, and he deftly brings each of the characters in Melville's masterpiece to life,as a result i now consider Moby Dick to be the best book i've ever 'read', and by a nautical mile the best audiobook i've ever listened to. Essential.
"Great narration, but Melville needed an editor"
If you've already decided you're going to listen to this famous American novel, this is a great edition to pick: Frank Muller is an absolutely joy to listen to. His pitch and speed are very easy to listen to, and he handles the wide variety of characters, scenes and expositions expertly. Highly recommended.
On the other hand, if you're trying to make your mind up about the novel itself it's not so clear. While Moby Dick has a great central story, it's not nearly as long as its enormous length implies. This regular length story is padded with an enormous amount of detail. Most, but by no means all, of this detail is interesting, but having sections of encyclopaedia unapologetically crammed into various parts of the story is jarring. Melville could have done with a good editor, who would hopefully have forced him to weave the pertinent detail into the story and leave the rest out!
The other issue is the characters' use of language. The novel was published in 1851, so obviously you'd expect a certain amount of archaic language. However, I suspect that this dialogue would have been considered flowery and archaic even in 1851. Pompous, even.
I don't want to leave you with the impression that it's a bad book: it's not. I have enjoyed it, and its insight into whaling in the first half of the 19th century. However, despite its reputation, it's certainly not without some significant flaws.
"An amazing classic"
I came to listen to this book having seen the film and with some knowledge of the story. But the book has more in it than I could ever have imagined. It is truly a work of great fiction. The main story itself is only probably a tenth of the book. The other nine tenths contains tales and facts which will entertain, amaze, inform you and even make you smile. Reading the book would always be a daunting prospect but not so listening to it read by a master story teller, Frank Muller, it is sheer joy. I heard his voice in my head long after I stopped listening. I cannot recommend this audio too highly.
"This is the one"
Yes, its long, and sometimes you want to give up, but dont because duration is its theme and this is a novel you live with while reading and thereafter. And there are several audio versions, but Muller's the definitive one.
"The Reader makes it."
The depth of interpretation from Muller is magnificent.
I am British born Irish, maybe we hear differently ? I too tried to read this as a youngster, and gave up. This rescues the book for me and the relevance of all sections of the story are clear.
The story is a wonderful attempt at the Classical; Odysseus and all that.
But it is tied to one era and serves that well. It is educational from the need to take your harpoon to bed with you to the nature of ships' captains houses and of the chapels.
All Muller did was very, very good. This is the most demanding and the most successful.
I think not possible; it is too long. But in the sense that once in you do not want to let go - Yes.
Don't be dissuaded by the length of the book nor the departures into emotional description.
Evocative, crafted and clever. This book is a masterpiece of storytelling as carefully honed as a walnut skinned whaler's personal harpoon.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable classic. If you haven't listened to it yet, then do.
"Thank heavens for audio"
It is genuinely funny in places. It's interesting. It's atmospheric. At times it feels like you're travelling to distant parts of the globe. There are great characters. Melville varies the storytelling format.I can't say I loved every chapter, and there were occasions when I felt like screaming, "Enough already with the whale documentaries!" And just when you thought there was really nothing more to say about that particular species of fish (and yes, Ishmael insists whales *are* fish, several times) he comes out with something else to say about them. He tells us all about their heads, their noses (really!), their teeth (did you know they don't have fillings? thanks, Ish, I never would have guessed), their tongues, their tales and so on and so on and so on...As other reviewers have noted, only a fraction of the book is actual narrative. But when Melville is in storytelling mode, he's amazing!
A scene quite late on [so SPOILERS] when Ahab's obsession has got way out of hand. He's just pulled a gun on Starbuck, his first mate. Starbuck, knowing he can't impress Ahab himself, says, "Ahab, beware Ahab!" And Ahab responds as if he's received a deserved slap, and actually changes his behaviour. A little. For a while.
The simple matter is, I would never have persevered. I'd been meaning to read the book since around 1980 because Philip Jose Farmer had written a sequel to it, but was put off by its huge size (it's a whale of a book - ha ha, bet nobody else has ever made that joke!), its age, its subject matter (I was wearing a Save The Whale badge at the time) and the fact that I didn't read anything other than science fiction at the time.So, three and a half decades later I thought, hey, maybe I could listen to it instead!I've given Muller 5 stars because his reading is excellent. Not only does he do different voices for each character, he manages to convey a bantering double-act. ("I never drink--" "Water!") He never sounds bored, not even when he's got to the bit where Ishmael describes every last bone of a whale's skeleton. When Melville decides to write a chapter in the form of a play, Muller differentiates between dialogue and stage directions.Despite all this, I still recommend having a copy of the novel to hand and dipping into it from time to time, sometimes reading and listening at the same time.
Not exactly. Although there was a chapter title quite late on which gave me a jolt. It's a two-word title; the first word is "Queequeg's".
I am just so happy to have this monster of a classic under my belt. I expect I'll dip into the printed novel from time to time, and maybe listen to a dramatised or abridged version - one that doesn't have a chapter on the size of a blow-hole, or a chapter on things other than white whales that are white.
"Good book but too much detail"
This book is 136 chapters long and although the chapters are not long most are dedicated extreme detail which frankly is rather unnecessary. abridged version may be a better option. well read though
"A wonder of the watery and literary world"
Moby Dick, grippingly read in this version, is a true and unique classic. Yes, it is unorthodox in its construction, mixing together adventure and myth, an examination of the technique, history and sheer brutal power of the whaling life, symbol and reality - but that mixture is part of its uniqueness and power
Captian Ahab hunts the white whale which wounded or "dismasted" him halfway around the world. His hatred for the beast is so powerful that it stills any opposition to his quest and leads to ultimate destruction. Is this a prophecy? Man wounds nature until nature destroys man? You can read the whole book in so many ways.
I love the way small objects in the great whale hunt become ambiguous emblems. A tomahawk becomes a peace pipe; a coffin becomes a life-saver and so on.
It's a book like the sea itself. It has storms and squalls and beauty and ferocity and some doldrums and calms. But even when it is at its most wordy, you know that the whale will rise again from the depths to strongly tow the book and Ahab's ship along.
The narrator does a fine job. His voice is steady but dramatic and there are no slips or hesitations. A perfect reading.
It's tragic that after publishing this book in 1851, Herman Melville, harpooned by critics, sank more or less out of sight and the book was only "rediscovered" as a masterpiece around the 1920s.
If you haven't yet boarded The Pequod or encountered its crazed captain, this audible version of the book might start your voyage out in great style.
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