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Moby Dick

Moby Dick

Written by Herman Melville

Narrated by George Kennedy


Moby Dick

Written by Herman Melville

Narrated by George Kennedy

ratings:
3.5/5 (179 ratings)
Length:
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 1, 2009
ISBN:
9781601360489
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Ishmael, a sailor, recounts the ill-fated voyage of a whaling ship led by the fanatical Captain Ahab in search of the white whale that had crippled him.
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 1, 2009
ISBN:
9781601360489
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Herman Melville (1819-1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet who received wide acclaim for his earliest novels, such as Typee and Redburn, but fell into relative obscurity by the end of his life. Today, Melville is hailed as one of the definitive masters of world literature for novels including Moby Dick and Billy Budd, as well as for enduringly popular short stories such as Bartleby, the Scrivener and The Bell-Tower.


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Reviews

What people think about Moby Dick

3.7
179 ratings / 205 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Considered an encyclopedic novel. Never heard of this before but it fits. In this story based on the author's whaling voyage in 1841, Moby Dick, or the white whale, inspired by Mocha Dick and the sinking of the whaleship Essex. The detail is very realistic and in this book you not only learn about whale hunting, you learn about whales and porpoise and ships. Chapters are dedicated to lengthy descriptions. On the ship, the reader is introduced to a cultural mixture of class and social status as well as good and evil and the existence of God. Melville used narrative prose but also songs, poetry, catalogs and other techniques from plays. The story is told through Ishmael. Plot:Ishmael meets up with Queequeg and shares a bed because the inn is overcrowded. Queegueg is a harpooner and they sign unto the Pequod. Characters:Ishmael: Queequeg:Starbuck: first mateStubb: second mateTashtego: Indian from Gay Head (harpooner)Flask: third mate,Daggoo: harpooneer from Africa. Captain Ahab: Fadallah: a harpooneer, Parse. Pip: black cabin boyThe boats: Jeroboam, Samule Enderby, the Rachel, The Delight and Pequod. These ships all have encountered Moby Dick. Ahab is obsessed with revenge against Moby Dick because of the loss of his leg which the whale bit off. There are several gams or meetings of whale boats. Ending with a tireless pursuit of the whale without regard to the dangers it exposes the sailors of Pequod. Starbuck begs Ahab to quit. Structure:narrator shapes the story by using sermons, stage plays, soliloquies and emblematic readings. The narrator is the aged Ishmael. There is also narrative architecture. There are 9 meetings with other boats.
  • (1/5)
    Worst book ever
  • (4/5)
    Quite difficult to read - but enjoyable
  • (4/5)
    A good story shouldn't take that long to tell.
  • (5/5)
    A perfect novel. Pure genius.
  • (5/5)
    This is it, folks--the Great American Novel. It doesn't get any better--or more experimental--than this.
  • (5/5)
    A review of Moby-Dick? Right. It's been around for 150 odd years. It'll be around for at least another 150 odd. For good reason. If Shakespeare wrote Genesis and the Book of Judges, this might be a nice approximation of how Melville writes. And that's how I would describe Moby-Dick.Other notes, pay attention to Ahab's speech patterns and his spiritual journey throughout Moby-Dick; you'd swear he was a maimed Hamlet.
  • (5/5)
    In my view, America's greatest novel. Timeless, poetic and emblematic of a once great industry dominated by Americans.
  • (1/5)
    I don't suggest reading this unless you enjoy torture or just want to say "yah, that's right - I read Moby Dick!" I just do not like this book at all.
  • (4/5)
    Read this out of a sense of duty, while recovering from surgery for a deviated septum, which required laying on my back for a week. I thought it was pretty good.
  • (5/5)
    The most beautiful modern edition of an undisputed masterpiece. Stranger, funnier, and more varied than I imagined, this edition literally stopped people on the street. A homeless man in San Francisco stopped and admired the book, smiling as he told me he "needed that".
  • (5/5)
    On my should read list list but avoided successfully for 45 years. Between the Philbrick recommendation and the lauds to Hootkins' narration, I finally succumbed and spent nearly a month of commutes taking the big story in, and the next month thinking about the story. SO glad I listened rather than skimmed as a reader. It has everything;. Agree with Floyd 3345 re fiction and nonfiction shelving
  • (5/5)
    One of my favorites! The opening paragraph pretty much sums up why I read it.
  • (5/5)
    Read this in tandem w/ friends, a full spectrum of opinion was thus established. My friend Roger Baylor left an indelible smudge on his own critical reputation for his hapless remarks. I tended to the ecstatic edge of said continuum. I did find the novel's disparate elements an obstacle at times, but, then again, I had to temper my velocity anyway as it was a group read: there's been sufficient snark from my mates for a decade now about plowing through a selection in a weekend. There was such a foam of detail and philosophy. The terrors of thunder and the groan of salty timber abounded. The stale breath of morning would often freeze upon the very page. The majesty of Melville's prose was arresting, it held, bound -- it felt as if one's focus was being nailed to the mast like Ahab's gold. Moby Dick is such a robust tapestry, epic and yet filigreed with minor miracles and misdeeds.

    I do look forward to a reread.
  • (5/5)
    No one ever seems to discuss this, but there are parts of this exquisitely written tome that are hilarious!
  • (5/5)
    very good, very long
  • (3/5)
    Societally we all know the basic story. I learned a great deal about whaling, and the times.
  • (4/5)
    I listened to the unabridged text as an audiobook over a couple of months of long drives to and from work, and what struck me most was the structure of this huge book: the story of Ahab is essentially a short story which Melville has fragmented and embedded in thousands of tons of blubber! That is bold. I think it's also interesting that when this long text finally ends we're actually not quite half way through Melville's source--the sinking of the Nantucket ship Essex in 1820. Within this context, Melville's colossal text is actually a truncated and abbreviated version of his primary source! Again, wild to think of it. Because I love to hear stories even more than to read them, because the rhythms have a physical presence when read aloud, I highly recommend the text as an audiobook. That Melville would devote an entire chapter to "The Blow Hole" is outrageous in many ways, but also an interesting listen. A friend told me her professor advised her class to "not wait for the whale" as they were reading the novel. That's hard advice to take. The book is definitely a unique experience.
  • (5/5)
    (Original Review, 1981-02-10)This is a book that knows how excessive it is being.It took me three times through it to realize that it's the greatest novel in the English language. Of course it has everything wrong with it: the digressions, the ludicrous attempt to out-Shakespeare Shakespeare, the prose through which a high wind blows perpetually, the fact that it's written almost entirely in superlatives . . . Never mind, it's overtopped by wave upon wave of genius, exuberant, explicative, mad in its quest to be about everything at once and to ring every bell in the English language. Yes it can be tough going sometimes, but here's an all-important hint: read this book aloud.Needless to say, it would never get across an editor's desk intact today. And today we're poorer for that. Something else: no one ever seems to mention how madly funny it is. It's vital to tune in to the humour, I think, if you are to enjoy reading it.“The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym” is a good book, but doesn't quite rank with Poe's best work, and the "Scarlet Letter" has always seemed to me so narrowly provincial in its concerns that I've never been tempted to read it. But "Moby-Dick" is something else. Strange, digressive, sprawling, experimental, playful... it's a book that takes chances - and sometimes falls flat on its face: for example, not all the digressions work and, as someone already mentioned, the attempts at Shakespearean language are often laughable. But in the end, I think it has to be recognised as a monumental effort.First encountered it at 19 as required reading and found the tale enjoyable but the digressions on whaling baffling and tedious. Some year’s later I am two-thirds of the way through re-reading it. It now seems as though the tale is the most minor and uninteresting part of it. The supposed digressions are the bulk of the work.It is beyond marvellous. The language rings with echoes of the Bible and Shakespeare but the high style is mingled with prose of such simple directness that it barely feels like a 19th century novel at all. For me, what rises endlessly from the pages is a sense of joy and wonder - the sheer joy of being alive and experiencing each moment as something new, and the profound wonder of man in the face of a natural world he may come close to conquering but will never fully understand.I still find myself struggling to get my head around what it all means and quite why it is so great. But great - immense, staggering, colossal - it surely is. A mighty work."Moby-Dick" will be the equivalent of the Hogwarts Sorting Hat at the gates of Heaven. If you liked it, you'll go straight through the gates. If you didn't, well....As a side note, whilst “Moby Dick” remains his towering achievement, works such as "Bartleby the Scrivener", "Billy Budd & Pierre", or "The Ambiguities" are all remarkable in their own ways, whilst utterly different. Alongside "Bartleby", though, for me, Melville's other astonishing achievement is "Confidence Man" - a breathtakingly modern, or perhaps better, "post-modern" book, almost entirely without precursor. Imagine a literary "F is for Fake", & you begin to get a tiny hint of what Melville is up to. Of all writers, he seems to me to be the one who, standing at the very cusp of that moment when literary form is about to find itself cast in stone, is able to invent, it seems as if with every work, a wholly new literary form in & for each of his works. In every sense of the word, his writing & his works are excessive, just as Faulkner's Willbe, & those of Gaddis, &, to an extent, Pynchon. This "excessiveness" is, for sure, a predominantly American phenomenon.
  • (5/5)
    Rated: AFascinating tale of the great white whale. Herman Melville develops complete context with enlightening descriptions of the whaling industry from ships to life on board to voyages to whaling to whales to the chase to the capture to the extraction of oils to life and death upon the sea. Oh, yes -- there is the story of Moby Dick.
  • (5/5)
    Sublime. In this day and age it is awesome to slow down to the speed of this story and remember what it was like before the internet, before even radio, to be out upon the vast sea for years awhaling.
  • (3/5)
    This is a sea epic adventure story.If you didn't already know this book takes you on the journey of a sea voyage as told by our first person narrator Ishmael, who in boredom, decides to join the crew of a whaling ship called the Pequod. They then and bark on their journey off the coast of Nantucket and search of whales and most infamously the killer white well known to the sailors as Moby Dick. Crazy Captain Ahab seems not only dead set on evening the score with Moby Dick but in his obsession to do so leads the ship and its crew in to peril. Will Ishmael ever reach the shore again alive?Okay so I understand this is a classic, but my readers expect an honest review for me so here it goes...Though beautiful the writing is in this book, Herman Melville is extremely long-winded with his descriptions of pretty much everything. Every little detail takes an entire chapter to explain. The book becomes extremely tedious and even boring to those who aren't really keen on ocean epics. The language in which it is written is borderlined Old English and is beautiful to read. However as I said before the descriptions of things become monotonous with this author. I respect this for the classic that it is. But I'm sure this will probably be my one and only time reading this one. Now I can say that I have read it and move on. I would definitely recommend others to read it once and respect for the classic that it is as well. It is a good story overall, just difficult to read.
  • (1/5)
    This could have been a shorter book. Melville created multiple chapters explaining and discussing the sperm whale’s head, right whale’s head, different kinds of whale and their classifications. It was like reading an encyclopedia rather than a story.
  • (2/5)
    My edition had 620 pages. Melville could have told the story in 200, and it would have been a much more enjoyable read. Some folks have accused current generations of having attention deficits due to the snappy editing in TV and movies. We have nothing on Melville, though. Moby Dick is a disjointed and schizophrenic jumble of almost nonexistent plot development, thin character development, solipsistic ramblings, anecdotes, and whaling "lessons".

    I read this book because my copy was a 13th birthday gift given to my grandfather and because it's supposedly a classic. I was throughly disappointed and left wondering what's so classic about it. My grandfather probably liked it, though. He liked the works of James Michener, possibly the most boring writer to ever put ink to paper.

    Kahn was a better Ahab, and Wrath of Kahn was a better Moby Dick. Perhaps Nicholas Myers a better author than Herman Melville.
  • (4/5)
    Moby Dick is surely one of the great American novels and its non-human protagonist is known to everyone only remotely interested in literature. The story about Captain Ahab and the whale, however, is not that well known at all. I mean, who can really say what happens at the end of Moby Dick? No worries, I will not give away the ending here. Just let me give a brief outline of the setting and the plot. The story is narrated by Ishmael and it is narrated in first person. Ishmael recounts the story of how he came to join Captain Ahab's crew on the Pequod, a whaling ship. Captain Ahab has met the white whale Moby Dick many times, but never managed to finally kill the animal. On the contrary, he was almost defeated by Moby Dick, who cost Ahab one of his legs. This led to Ahab developing an obsession to finally catch and kill Moby Dick. The plot is easily told then. The Pequod sails the oceans in order for Ahab to finally fulfill what seems to be his only remaining purpose in life.Moby Dick is so much more than its plot. A large part of the novel is made up of extensive background information about whales and whaling. Melville chose not to simply entertain his readers with a story but rather educate them on the subject he seems to be so facinated with. The mere story would probably have been told in about half the number of pages, but it is this addendum, let's call it, that makes up for a large part of the reading experience. I do admit that there will be many readers who will be taken aback by the degree of detail Melville put into the educational part of the novel. However, the combination of both background knowledge and a story about finding and killing a whale is what makes this novel exceptional, I think.While Moby Dick was published in 1851, I think the novel is timeless and can be read for many reasons as it includes still relevant themes, the fight of human vs. nature being one of them, and provides the readers with some insights that are as true and important today - or even more so - as they might have been in the 19th century. A case in point:I say, we good Presbyterian Christians should be charitable in these things, and not fancy ourselves so vastly superior to other mortals, pagans and what not (...) I say: and Heaven have mercy on us all - Pagans and Presbyterians alike - for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.I would generally suggest that readers should give Moby Dick a try and see whether it is their cup of tea or not. I can certainly understand both how people admire the novel and how they might find it quite boring. What it came down to for me in the end was, what the reading did with me. After many reading sessions what I had just read did not leave me for quite a bit and this is something that I treasure in books. 3.5 stars.
  • (3/5)
    It took me three weeks, but I finished it.

    Oh my... I don't know if I hated it or didn't mind it (certainly didn't love it). It was a chore to read, and reading shouldn't feel that way. I'm glad I got through it, but again I don't think that should be the aim of reading! I can see why it's so lauded, but at the same time I don't believe that something is good just because it is verbose and tome-like. The story was good, but the characters were very underdeveloped. I'd have loved to have known more about their individual stories (especially poor Pip, and Queegueg). I did warm to the chapter upon chapter of whale facts* a little, but I felt they were self indulgent and didn't really add as much to the story as they would have if they were trimmed down a bit to make room for more actual story. At times the prose was beautiful, but at others I found myself reading pages without absorbing a thing. It's an incredible piece of work...but not a great reading experience.

    *after at first Googling whether you could skip those and still follow the book...
  • (3/5)
    Meeslepend, maar de onderbrekingen storen toch. Die vertonen trouwens sterke gelijkenis met methode van Herodotus: kritische bevraging van verhalen. Het geheel is niet helemaal geloofwaardig, en vooral het slot is nogal abrupt.Stilistisch vallen de abrupte veranderingen in register en perspectief op, waarschijnlijk toch wel een nieuwigheid. De stijl zelf doet zeer bombastisch, rabelaissiaans aan. Tekening Ahab: mengeling van sympathie en veroordeling
  • (3/5)
    I finally got around to reading this book. The book was a little hard to read due to the more complicated sentence structure used in 1851 when it was published. The book had a lot of potential, but the story was diluted down by all the information on whales. The info was interesting, however, it distracted the reader from the story. I found it odd how one chapter would be "normal" writing, then the next would be older style English, which I didn't like to read. The book could have easily been trimmed by 200 pages and much more character dialogue added to build the story.
  • (1/5)
    DNF!(Did NOT Finish!) Tried to read this in 2010. Edition I had was over 500 pages. Got to page 175, and couldn't take anymore! I know it's considered a classic for the themes it represents, but I just couldn't get through it. Just not my cup of tea. I read for sweeping adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, let me escape stuff. Waaay to much descriptive style here for me. If there was an abridged version, with just the adventure parts, I would read it. But that would only be about 50 pages...I know. At least I tried...
  • (4/5)
    I listened to the free Librivox recording of the book. The reader did an excellent job.