Typee is Herman Melville's first book, a predecessor to Moby Dick, and, in fact, is inspired by the author's own exploration of the Marquesas Islands. Tired of being at sea for many months, the narrator and his friend flee their cargo ship at the first spotting of land. Luckily, they have chosen a beautiful island in the Maquesas, but unluckily, the locals might be cannibals. Audio performer John L. Chatty luxuriates in Melville's elaborate descriptions of the rich setting, from the detailed accounts of the voluptuous Marquesan girls to the imagery of the ship's licentious crew. Chatty's pacing is leisurely and his articulation is excellent, although at moments his voice could use more varied inflection. Overall, adventure fans will find Typee a thrilling audiobook.
It was published in 1846, five years before Moby Dick, and was the most popular of the author'sworks during his lifetime. The book is an idyll of four months among primitive South Sea islanders. However, the books also shocked its original audience with a truthful account of Polynesian tribal life, including their very liberal sexual practices. Typee won Melville great fame during his life and remains a favorite today.
(P)1984 Jimcin Recordings
I agree with a previous reviewer's comment that the reader is a little monotonous in his reading voice. It is a bluff male voice such as might be suitable for a sailor, but it lacks range. This problem is perhaps made worse by the fact that Melville launches into some heavily discursive passages in which he berates the unfortunate effects of the so-called "civilized" Europeans on the South Sea natives. These comments were a much-needed corrective at the time of the book's original publication, but they have the effect of taking the reader out of the novel. Typee is really only an adventure novel in the first section and briefly again at the end. In the middle is a long section describing the lifestyle of the Polynesians prior to being heavily impacted by European visitors. It is an idyllic life in which little work is required and the natives, who are feared as barbarous and violent, prove to be mostly benign and hospitable. I wouldn't rate this book as being on par with Moby Dick because the themes are so bluntly stated, as though the narrator had decided to step out of the narrative in order to deliver a lecture. Yet it was fascinating in what it depicts and is still a worthwhile listen.
Anyone with a bad case of insomnia.
No, .kg with this narrator, although I like Melville.
It was devoid of any Passion and completely monotone.
It needs another narrator who will do it justice.
Typee is one of the books that I loved as a young lad. It sparked my imagination and captivated me. Unfortunately, Mr. Chatty's breathing pace and reading pace did not match the sentences, sometimes leading to split sentences and even run-together paragraphs. Several times there were mispronunciations. "Tumult" with a schwa rather than long u might be put to regional diction, but the King of Hawaii, Kamehameha was also pronounced "kammie hammie ha" instead of "kuh-may-ha-may-ha" (ref: US Library of Congress page on Kamehameha I). If you can get past the nearly-monotone reading style, it's a good listen.
Retired teacher of literature with an interest in religion and in science and in history. I have loved reading for 50 years.
Typee might make a good short story...Melville does tell us some interesting events that happened to him on a Pacific island after he jumped ship...but he tells us in a writing style that avoids single syllable words if multi-syllable words are available. The result is stilted language and excessively long sentences that should be short, as in "He endeavored to inform me as to..." instead of "He told me..." It was Melville's first book, and folks in the middle of the 19th century liked it, but people today have no patience for high-faluting language. So the book is too long...and the narrator makes some faux pas such as pronouncing every letter "a" as if he is beginning to say the alphabet....I like my narrators to de-emphasize that single letter when it occurs alone, and simply utter "uh" or something similar. To hear the narrator say the name of that letter as if beginning the aphabet every time an "a" shows up (quite a lot) is distracting.
The best part of the book occurs when Melville rants on about the harm done to Pacific islanders by Westerners and missionaries who come to "civilize" the natives but who ruin their pacific and healthful cultures. Melville saw the islands as paradise spoiled by the coming of "civilization." He probably was biased, but he makes some good points, if one overlooks the native custom of cannibalism.
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