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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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4.0 (1303 )
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Performance
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  •  
    cori 10-30-12
    cori 10-30-12 Member Since 2009

    work at a job that lets me listen to books all day I like history, good mysteries and humor

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I see why its on all the lists"

    Funnier than I would have imagined. I enjoyed the descriptions and even liked all the whale descriptions. If you are an animal lover this might not be your best choice. That is sad to think about all the killing. Frank Muller may be my second favorite narrator. George your still my first

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacqueline 10-08-12
    Jacqueline 10-08-12
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    "Moby Dick"
    What made the experience of listening to Moby-Dick the most enjoyable?

    Being able to listen on my Kindle while following along with the text on my iPad.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Narrator used different voices for all characters. Book was very well read and made this classic fun to listen to.


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

    No.


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

    No. It was 21 hours


    Any additional comments?

    Thank you for making these classics available on audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 07-08-12
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 07-08-12 Member Since 2008

    Non Fiction Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "B o o o r ing!"
    What disappointed you about Moby-Dick?

    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.


    What was most disappointing about Herman Melville’s story?

    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.


    What character would you cut from Moby-Dick?

    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.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Natalie Anderson, MO, United States 05-30-12
    Natalie Anderson, MO, United States 05-30-12
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    "Very very dense"

    "From hell's depth I stab at thee, with my last breath I spit upon thee." Thus spake captain Ahab as he fought the dreaded Moby Dick. This had some of the most riveting action sequences that I have heard. Indeed, I sat chained to my speakers at times as the story progressed. The characters seemed so vivid and lifelike, and the scene was so beautifully painted.

    However it took a long time to get there. I don't mean the symbolism, which pervades every word said by Ahab and much of the action of the ship, but the asides about whaling and New England life in general. Indeed, much of the book is not taken up by the action of moving the plot forward but by these diversions. Some of it gives vital and needed information, while others can be frightfully dry. These parts made it difficult to get through the book.

    I can't say I recommend this book to all readers as a result. Although I believe that the book is a must read for educated people it might be too much for some. Perhaps and abridged version might be better for readers who find the lengthy descriptions and classifications too much to get through. And, although I agree that the narrator here is fantastic, I oddly enough found the print version easier to get through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danielle Philadelphia, PA, United States 02-10-12
    Danielle Philadelphia, PA, United States 02-10-12
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    "Outstanding performance"
    What made the experience of listening to Moby-Dick the most enjoyable?

    Frank Muller's narration is extraordinary. Just the sheer number and range of characters he illustrates just using his voice is remarkable, he really brings the story to life.


    Would you recommend Moby-Dick to your friends? Why or why not?

    If there is an abridged version with Frank Muller, then yes. Otherwise, I would not recommend reading or listening to the unabridged version of Moby-Dick. There are long, long passages that I found extremely dry. I don't know if this is intentional and meant to give the reader a sense of a long 3-year journey with intermittent but intense excitement or maybe even represent the whale itself, a huge bulk with a small quantity of precious oil, but at times it was hard to endure.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David C. Cain Dallas, Texas 12-14-11
    David C. Cain Dallas, Texas 12-14-11 Listener Since 2008

    Malinov

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    "Exceedingly well done"

    One of the most important and poetic novels of the nineteenth century, this is also one of the best audiobooks I have encountered. Worth every penny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LifetimeRoad Deep South 09-06-12
    LifetimeRoad Deep South 09-06-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I'm just not THAT interested in whaling!"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. I don't have any friends that would be interested in whaling.


    Any additional comments?

    I guess I haven't learned my lesson. Some "classic" books are very slooooow moving and filled with excessive detail.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tarra LANSING, MI, United States 07-18-12
    Tarra LANSING, MI, United States 07-18-12 Member Since 2012
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    "I was not impressed!! What is all the hype about?"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    It's not that this book wasn't for me because I read Lost at Sea: The Story of Essex, and it was outstanding. It kept me on the edge of my seat.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Herman Melville? Why or why not?

    No


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator was dry, but the point of view was very confusing. How is Melville telling this story with barely no interaction with the crew/ indeavour. It reads as if he is watching it on TV.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The end, and I mean the very end, was okay.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eunique Sagamore Hills, Oh United States 02-04-11
    Eunique Sagamore Hills, Oh United States 02-04-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Boring..."

    Moby Dick reminds of a baseball game - 15 monutes of action crammed into 3 hours. I didn't know there was that much to say about anything. Just when you think that you've heard everything you want to know about rope, it goes on, and on, and on....

    Frank Muller does an excellent job with the narration is good, I just didn't care for the book itself. The best thing - I can cross it off my list of books I must read. If you are doing the classic tour also, I recommend this version. Might want to have a lot of coffee while you're driving.

    4 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Reno, NV 89519 03-12-09
    Mark Reno, NV 89519 03-12-09
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    "I wasn't impressed with the reading..."

    The reader did the story in for me.

    A good reader he is perhaps, but he seemed to sweep through sentences in such a way that blended them together, watering them down so that they went in one ear and out the next.

    I felt the story was one I couldn't get into, though have attempted reading it several times. The reader emphasizes things too much at times, so that I felt the story was over-dramatic. The story has plenty of drama as it is, without the reader putting an exclamation point on every single sentence. I would like to hear someone that would read it in a more natural tone; maybe William Hurt would be good.

    5 of 15 people found this review helpful
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