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Moby-Dick | [Herman Melville]

Moby-Dick

Labeled variously a realistic story of whaling, a romance of unusual adventure and eccentric characters, a symbolic allegory, and a drama of heroic conflict, Moby Dick is first and foremost a great story. It has both the humor and poignancy of a simple sea ballad, as well as the depth and universality of a grand odyssey.
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Publisher's Summary

Its famous opening line, "Call me Ishmael," dramatic in its stark simplicity, begins an epic that is widely regarded as the greatest novel ever written by an American. Labeled variously a realistic story of whaling, a romance of unusual adventure and eccentric characters, a symbolic allegory, and a drama of heroic conflict, Moby Dick is first and foremost a great story. It has both the humor and poignancy of a simple sea ballad, as well as the depth and universality of a grand odyssey.

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.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Nicholas Lera Redwood City 10-26-14
    Nicholas Lera Redwood City 10-26-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Best way to handle this classic."
    Where does Moby-Dick rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Moby Dick is surprisingly effective as an audiobook. I don't think I would have been able to finish it nearly as quickly in print.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ahab. He's a dark, dark every man.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Ishmael's introduction to Queequeg--so much can be read into their relationship...


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It was good book to break up during car rides.


    Any additional comments?

    For a novel with very little action, it is really surprisingly engaging. It's truly a book about whaling and about the the monomaniacal focus of man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Riley omaha, ne 09-30-14
    M. Riley omaha, ne 09-30-14 Member Since 2013

    wishful thinker

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    "Meandering Narrative"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It would depend heavily on the friend. This is not an everyman book, despite it's fame. This is a time investment, and a fairly obscure topic.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    As a biologist, I found myself wondering at some of the history Melville gives of marine species. I do not specialize in marine biology, but I do believe that much of the information given as fact no longer aligns with what we've learned about which species are related to which others, and how certain traits and behaviors developed. This won't interfere in the story for most people, I think, and nothing is glaringy wrong with his classifications, but several times I fell out of the story and into fact-checker mode.


    Which character – as performed by Frank Muller – was your favorite?

    For me, the characters were all fairly distant feeling. It wasn't really about them.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The descriptions of the boy lost to sea were particularly philosophical, I thought.


    Any additional comments?

    I love Melville, for the record, and got this audio book when I realized that I couldn't really remember the story for Moby Dick past the obvious search for the white whale. Out of all of Melville's stories, I think this is the one most in need of an edit. There are long, almost meandering descriptions that then turn into essay-length passages on some specific topic (Like what counts as a 'fish' or the then-known history of whales0.All the topics included in such lush detail are (to me, at least) interesting and related to the topic of whale hunting, but the way they are presented in the narrative feels, almost, like Melville is messing with the reader, purposely drawing the story out to near-intolerable lengths. Twenty 'pages' might go by with no mention of the primary story line.Overall, I did enjoy the story. I caught myself kind of wandering off a few times, but when the story grabs you it can be great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KS 08-30-14
    KS 08-30-14
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    "Brilliant Novel, Class Performance"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. Moby Dick is long and arduous, but WORTH IT. I highly recommend, reading along as you listen ($0.99 or free for Kindle edition), then once you're entranced, close your eyes and imagine yourself aboard the Pequod.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Moby Dick! Now, scientists know that whales are as "smart" as humans. But Melville got that way back in the day.


    What does Frank Muller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He doesn't do ridiculous voices or anything, he just captures the energy and the insanity. The language is old, unfamiliar; Muller animates it for the reader/listener.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Ha no, please don't do that.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thor, goT 07-29-14
    Thor, goT 07-29-14 Member Since 2009

    A former globetrotting surf punk turned homeowner with ecclectic tastes. Classics, horror, crime, biographies or lectures? Yes please!

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    "Rediscovering a masterpiece!"
    Any additional comments?

    An interesting symbolic story about a quest for...vengeance...adventure...redemption...profit...knowledge...many things, really. The social commentary and observations on the nature of people and the world were surprisingly spot on for a book that was written prior to the American Civil War. His outlook reflects a very modern world view and the symbolism cuts through multiple levels and issues, which is why it did not gain popularity until after the author's death. How often do we willingly join an ill-fated madman's journey for our own gain and motives? As a society? As individuals? As an economy? Very interesting stuff.

    Even the outdated science he occasionally spends pages documenting is pretty interesting, as it fits with the character of the narrator and helps anchor it in its time. I really enjoyed this and encourage others to read it, removed from the stigma of being "assigned reading" or force-fitted into a public classroom with many people not having lived enough of life to appreciate it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jovan J. 06-30-14
    Jovan J. 06-30-14
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    "Great performance, but too many skips"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes b/c I enjoy this book and love Frank Muller.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Queequeg. Although considered a savage, he is one of the most civil, faithful and honorable men encountered in the story.


    Have you listened to any of Frank Muller’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have yet to be disappointed by Mr. Muller, but this was one of his most captivating performances to me.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Nope. The Huston version with Gregory Peck was ok, but the 2010...the horror.


    Any additional comments?

    The only reason I gave it 3 stars overall is b/c of the recording value. I was disappointed by the many skips it had; it was like listening to a scratched CD. At one point there was even a sound like it had been dubbed or something.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Dawson Appleton, WI USA 03-13-14
    Terry Dawson Appleton, WI USA 03-13-14 Member Since 2015
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    "A voyage worth taking"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I'd been avoiding this whale for forty years, but finally decided to tag along with Ahab, Ishmael et al. The voyage was definitely worth taking. In fact, this comes close to five stars but for some of the pacing, which can occasionally feel tedious. What works well is Melville's soaring, poetic language, the grand conceit of the overwhelming metaphor and allegory, and the way one comes, at last, to know and care about the characters. What works unexpectedly well is that though there is very little story in long stretches, just an extended textbook on whaling, Melville holds the reader's interest through his evident passion and apt phrasing. What didn't work quite so well for me was the length of textbook passages, void of plot or characters. It truly felt deserving of extensive footnotes and bibliography. In the meantime many of the characters remain frustratingly under-developed, however deliberate this may have been. But patience is rewarded when Melville finally does get back to plot and characters, because the reader has gained perspective. The action sequences at the end of the book seem to fly by, and Melville unfolds doom in hauntingly powerful language. This is undoubtably a great book. .A note on editions: I read the Feedbooks ebook, the Collectors Library hardcover, and the Audible version read by Frank Muller. All were excellent, and I definitely recommend Muller's reading.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Wyoming, Michigan, United States 01-07-14
    Kevin Wyoming, Michigan, United States 01-07-14 Member Since 2013

    Scientist, Atheist, Humanist, and Historian. I don't know everything, but I know enough to know if you're full of it!

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    "An Epic Book"
    Where does Moby-Dick rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is up near the top of my list, I would read it again.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed the depth and complexity of the story.


    What does Frank Muller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Well, he reads it to you which is always a plus!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No laughing or crying, just got swept away by the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Ventura, CA, United States 10-21-13
    Steve Ventura, CA, United States 10-21-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Boring"
    Would you try another book from Herman Melville and/or Frank Muller?

    No more Herman Melville books.


    What could Herman Melville have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Just tell the tale of chasing Moby Dick and forget all the other stuff.


    Which character – as performed by Frank Muller – was your favorite?

    None


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    The tale of Moby Dick is interesting, but Melville gets sidetracked on so many unrelated topics (all different types of whales, the sermon about Jonah, types of boats, etc.) that it got extremely boring. Finally, I started skipping all the digressions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy United States 10-08-13
    Amy United States 10-08-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Reading feels Hurried"
    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrater needed to find the right cadence with this book. Most often the reading was way too fast for the text, which can be very lyrical if you let it breath. The performance is very understandable and therefore passable - but you miss much of the beauty of the writing.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter United States 08-18-13
    Peter United States 08-18-13 Member Since 2012
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    "I was in college when First read this classic"
    Where does Moby-Dick rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Excellent all around -great spoken word


    What other book might you compare Moby-Dick to and why?

    There is no comparison-the book operates on so many levels


    Which character – as performed by Frank Muller – was your favorite?

    ahab had a brooding evil quality


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes but it is long


    Any additional comments?

    Timeless and thought provoking

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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