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Moby Dick

Moby Dick by Herman Melville
By: (1819-1891)

“Call me Ishmael” is one of the most famous opening lines in American literature. With these words, opens one of the strangest and most gripping stories ever written about the sea and sea-faring. Moby Dick by Herman Melville is today considered one of the greatest novels written in America but paradoxically, it was a miserable failure when it first made its debut in 1851. Entitled Moby Dick or The Whale the book finally got its due after the author's death and is now regarded as a classic portrayal of mania and fatal obsession.

The narrator, Ishmael, travels to New Bedford, Massachusetts, to find a place on a whaling ship. He lodges at a seedy inn where he is forced to share a room with a strange old character, Queequeg, who was a harpooner. Despite his initial revulsion of Queequeg, Ishmael decides to join him in looking for work together. They reach Nantucket, the traditional center of whaling, where they find a berth on the Pequod, a bizarre vessel adorned with the skeletons and teeth of whales. The captain, Ahab, a mysterious figure, does not appear immediately. Later, they come to know that he is on board, recovering from losing a leg on his last voyage having escaped death narrowly following an encounter with a massive sperm whale.

As the ship sails past Africa, Ahab's sinister motives begin to emerge. His agenda is to hunt and destroy a legendary whale named Moby Dick, whom he has unsuccessfully pursued several times. He has smuggled his own private harpooners on board and he accosts every whaling ship he meets and demands information about sightings of Moby Dick. One of the ships has a maniacal passenger called Gabriel, who claims to be a prophet and he predicts doom for anyone who seeks Moby Dick. The peg leg captain finally encounters Moby Dick and a trail of destruction follows. The obsessed Ahab refuses to give up. The novel then races towards a brilliant and dramatic climax.

As an example of the Great American Novel, Moby Dick is unrivaled in its structure, language and style. Melville amalgamates a fabulous mix of Biblical, Shakespearean and mythical elements along with wonderful seafaring atmosphere sourced from his own nautical experiences on board whaling schooners. Whaling stories from contemporary sources in Nantucket's local grapevine was another rich fountainhead of material.

Moby Dick has been adapted for stage, radio, screen, television, comics and graphic novels. It remains a strange and unforgettable classic which no reader should miss.

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 10 reviews)

July 29, 2015
This book was a career ender for Melville. There is so much filler in this long book to make it uninteresting. Critics of his day hated it. Only long after his death did it become popular. This story could be told with 10-20% of the space. Prepare to be bored if you read it.
Reviewer: - April 28, 2015
Subject: so into the book
SO COOL Moby Dick can survive it
Reviewer: - August 27, 2014
Subject: Intrasting
I'm finding this book interesting so I think I will keep reading 3 Stars.
Reviewer: - June 15, 2014
I found the reading boring. Mid-West American accents kill a story like this. I guess I've been spoiled by Richard Basehart.
Reviewer: - March 28, 2014
Subject: Moby Dick
I guess I'll speak for the "average guy". The reader was great. Other than that, wow. The namesake of the book doesn't arrive until chapter 133 of a 135 chapter book. Melville obviously suffered from attention deficit long before it was diagnosed. The title should have been "A Whaling Adventure". Sorry but this book could have told the same story in half as many chapters. I suppose for some this is a classic but what good is a review if not honest.
Reviewer: - November 27, 2013
Wow, it's an awesome story but it's kind of hard to listen to.
Reviewer: - July 29, 2013
Subject: Moby Dick
Very well narrated, but if your looking for a happy ending this is not the book to pic.
Reviewer: - July 22, 2013
Fantastic reading. You suit this style of book. It is my favorite story and I am glad to hear it honored so well.
Reviewer: - July 3, 2013
Subject: Great reading!
I would not have understood Moby Dick if it wasn't for this. Very well read and characters voices are awesome!
Reviewer: - June 4, 2013
Subject: Download it.
Highly recommend downloading this one. Wills does a great job narrating. His voices that he does for each of the characters are consistent and the lines are delivered with feeling. I loved listening to Starbuck's monologues.

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