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I've been trying to read Moby Dick for years. I would read a few chapters and then drag off and not be able to finish. This reader changed my whole experience with the book. Moby Dick is, of course, a wonderful book, but the reader added a whole new dimension. He brought the characters to life, which gave me a whole new perspective on their personalities (especially Ishmael). This perspective made the plot, subtext and interplay of the book so much more lively and exciting. Even the "boring" parts involving "all you need to know about whaling." Thank you thank you thank you so much, dear reader. You have a great talent!
I love this book but have found most of the unabridged audiobooks of Moby Dick difficult to listen to. This is a long book with parts that are not exactly high drama - so Hootkins' "overacting" is really good at pulling us through those long arcs. It is certainly the best Moby Dick audiobook out there. I would go out on a limb and say it's actually one of the best audiobooks I've ever heard (my Audible library has over 300 books). I wish each every audiobook was this good.
Since joining Audible a year ago I have chewed through the classics and contemporaries like a wood chipper.
That being said, I say this:
Moby Dick is not just a great book, it is the best book I have EVER read.
None too familiar with it before tackling the read, I'd always for some reason thought it would be stuffy, dusty, old world reading. Nay, my friend. It was saucy, salty, and American.
The subject matter is absolutely riveting to the imagination. The deep inner thoughts of the characters are poetic and stirring. The manic, unresting, hungry intelligence of Ishmael illuminates a world I'd have never known existed, the intimate inner workings of an industry, and the beauty of the experiences had by men who might be dismissed as uneducated and rough. The stories are so spectacular, so grippingly entertaining, I'd often stop what I was doing while listening, hands stilled in their motions, and half smiling and wide eyed, waiting to hear what came next. And sometimes all I could say was, "No, freaking, way."
Treat yourself to Moby Dick.
The reading of this book is a performance! I've began looking up book specifically read by William Hootkins. The store is rambling and fragmented at times, you sense Melville has a destination but is in no hurry to get there. His side bar chapters of sailor stories and whale descriptions were like commercials for products I didn't want to buy. But it was all part of the lush tapestry he was weaving so I didn't mind. Overall I loved it! I'd give it a 10>
Obviously Moby Dick is one of the classics, but William Hootkins brings it to life in the most extraordinary manner. I've heard a few different narrators do bits Moby Dick but Hootkins is monster. His range of voices is stunning and he manages to sustain it over 20 hours.
This is the first time I've heard William Hootkins narrate anything, but I would take a punt on almost any book that had him as a narrator.
I think that some miss the point of this book--I don't think it's about Ahab and the white whale. Rather, it's about Ishmael's obsession with whales in general. If you look at it that way, then you won't be looking for the book to get on with the Ahab story. It's also really, really funny at times. The narration is excellent, fabulous, splendid, and other superlatives. He brings out the humor in the book that one would likely miss in reading due to the differences in language style. I'm glad I listened, but by the end I was definitely ready to move on to something else. There are a couple of short chapters that seem out of place and could be removed in an abridgment, but I'm afraid that most of what would get abridged would focus the book on Ahab and the whale, and I really don't think that's the point of the story--just the backdrop for Ishmael's obsession.
Wow! Has to be the greatest American novel ever written; and Melville couldn't have done it without Hootkins. Funny, philosophical, so much deeper than I ever imagined; and most of it I would have missed if I had read it myself. Thank you Mr. Hootkins!
"History brought to life"
A great yarn about the sea and one man's obsession for an ultimate goal. Melville, who had whaling experience, describes, to the readers of his day, the thrills, the dangers and the way of whaling in his time. We see the type of men that took part, learn about the uses of the whale to society then, such as lighting lamps and umbrella frames. For the modern reader it is first hand knowledge from the past told through the excitement and thrust of story. The narrator, William Hootkins does a good job with the character's voice accents.
An extraordinary work. He weaves the detail and the story together in an unforgettable way. Wonderfully written, wonderfully narrated. This is a book that gains much from bring read aloud so effectively.
I certainly will listen again. This is a story of such depth and humour, and so wonderfully and passionately told.
The ending rises to a powerful crescendo, but actually some of the parts I enjoyed most were right at the start of the book, as the main characters are being introduced.
His range of voices and the fire of his performance, which build and builds in the most dramatic moments.
It's too long for a single sitting, but certainly I got through it much more quickly than I would've read the book on its own.
"Fantastic Reading of a rambling epic"
Not read many so far but the performance by William Hootkins was fantastic. Passionate and brought the story to life.
It was a strange ending. The book is very rambling, perhaps this is why I have struggled reading it myself. The ending itself when it came was brief and satisfying, like ripping off a plaster. You knew what was about to happen, you knew it would hurt but it was ultimately successful and felt good.
First time I have heard his voice, but hopefully not the last.
When Ahab's madness prevented him ordering the crew to help in the quest for a lost whaleboat.
A long rambling epic brought to life brilliantly by a talented narrator
"great novel, beautifully narrated"
I read this difficult novel when young and did not appreciate it. By listening and reading it many years later, I loved its humanity, humour and wonderful capacious scope. It is a novel that lends itself to be read aloud so listening to such an accomplished actor is a treat.
What an epic tale... Well narrated, loved every minute of it. Would heartily recommend it.
"Boring but informative"
A totally different story
The observation of Queeqweg practicing his religion
This was just not my thing. Very slow plot but it is very informative and well written. As far as I am concerned it may as well have been 45 hours listening to drying paint.
"One of the greatest books ever written."
I am left speechless by this immortal story of whaling and the depths of humanity it explores. It truly is astonishing. A bit long at times with its unnecessary documentation but it is all useful. This book explores the very nature of an all-consuming obsession with a goal. This is very heavy stuff. The performance by William Hootkins is absolutely mind-blowing, so passionate at all times! I had to pull over and stop my car for the last chapter, my heart was pounding! You have to read this book at least once in your life. Incredible.
"The perfect performance of an amazing book"
Moby-Dick is the wildest, weirdest wonderful book; reading or listening to it is really a life experience. William Hootkins does a terrific job with this: he has a lovely, sonorous voice with the kind of classic accent and diction that perfectly suits the material, and he's able to convey both the grandeur and the humour of Melville's veering tone. I think I'm going to find it hard not to hear the book in Hootkins's voice from now on - which is a positive thing, because he gets it so right. Really good!
"A Hootkins Triumph"
I've tried and failed to read this myself, but here the narrator's excitement is infectious.
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