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Publisher's Summary

When the writer Donovan Hohn heard of the mysterious loss of thousands of bath toys at sea, he figured he would interview a few oceanographers, talk to a few beachcombers, and read up on Arctic science and geography. But questions can be like ocean currents: wade in too far, and they carry you away. Hohn's accidental odyssey pulls him into the secretive world of shipping conglomerates, the daring work of Arctic researchers, the lunatic risks of maverick sailors, and the shadowy world of Chinese toy factories.

Moby-Duck is a journey into the heart of the sea and an adventure through science, myth, the global economy, and some of the worst weather imaginable. With each new discovery, Hohn learns of another loose thread, and with each successive chase, he comes closer to understanding where his castaway quarry comes from and where it goes. In the grand tradition of Tony Horwitz and David Quammen, Moby-Duck is a compulsively readable narrative of whimsy and curiosity.

©2011 Donovan Hohn (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    27
  • 4 Stars
    36
  • 3 Stars
    30
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    33
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    24
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    29
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • K.
  • 06-09-11

Brilliant narration

I am about three quarters finished with this. The narrator seems to perfectly embody the tone of the author: wry, slightly self-deprecating, and fairly obsessed with his quest to learn everything he can about the fate of the lost bath toys. Along the way he travels far from home to take voyages on a variety of ships, learning about, among other things, plastics manufacture, cargo shipping, oceanography, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Hohn contrasts the happy innocence of the rubber duckie with the darker elements of man's impact on the planet. The author never loses his interest in his quest and I have found it mesmerizing. The descriptions are vivid and beautifully written. And if Hohn, the author, does not sound in real life like Welch, the narrator, he should!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting story but way too many side jaunts.

So many times I struggled to stay with this book. I don't mind occassional, even more frequent, tangents but at times the author kept takung a leap and then many more off that tangent before heading back. I appreciate the research he did but we don't need to know every tidbit unearthed. Also, skipping from dry as dirt recitations of molecular composition to recounting what sounded like stoner conversation was annoying. Some serious editing would make this an interesting, more coherent read or listen.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

EGADS!! Tell the story already!!

What would have made Moby-Duck better?

Tell the %#$%$#$# story. I am hours into the book and he is still in self-examination mode telling how beautiful the waves are on his ride on the ferry or how he felt guilty about this or that. It is like going to a concert and listening to singer talk about how they or feeling or what they had for lunch rather than singing. TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT.

What do you think your next listen will be?

History

How could the performance have been better?

Tell the story.

What character would you cut from Moby-Duck?

The author's philosophizing and self-examination.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

what happened to the ducks?

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

not to spoil the ending, but i still don't know. I know it's a true story, but its a science book and not a "story". way to technical for me,

Would you ever listen to anything by Donovan Hohn again?

probably not

How did the narrator detract from the book?

a bit dull

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Moby-Duck?

most of it... very redundant

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow! I liked this even more than I expected!

What did you like about this audiobook?

Yes because both the author and narrator made the story very compelling, informative, and entertaining.

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

Tory Horwitz's "Confederates in the Attic", because the style is similar, and because the author breathes life into topics that may seem very dry and anecdotal.

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

I found his voice to be very engaging and he made even technical passages sound compelling.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

I did find myself laughing aloud and wanting to share what I'd just heard with those around me. I urge others to read and/or listen to the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 05-01-12

Intro to global economy and consequences

Like a wide-eyed innocent child going out into the world the author takes you on a voyage starting from a simple question about a common household item. Using a surprising (for me considering his lack of experience in the area) depth of research and insight he breaks down the issues of the global economy, society, and environmental interdependence. I think he does a very good job of presenting a balanced story and shows why there are so many difficult questions that do not have simple answers.

Unless you count full recognition of the cost of product disposal, control of wasteful habits, and an educated consumer that does not consume only for the sake of consuming.

Solid narration presents the material well and does not get in the way of the message.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Centreville, VA, United States
  • 03-22-12

Moby-Flop

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Wow, what a waste of time.

What could Donovan Hohn have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

More story and less filler

Any additional comments?

Avoid this book. Story was not worth telling. I could not finish the book.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful