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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: 4 Stars - 44 reviews)

Reviewer: - May 11, 2021
Subject: 2deep4me
I've been told that a lot of this book is parody, symbolism, and commentary on America itself and the whaling industry of the time, but if it is then it really didn't get through to me. Through no fault of the audio narrator this book was an absolute slog that is so bloated with filler that it reads as though Melville was being paid by the word - one needs to look no further than to the pre-chapter where a half hour is spent quoting every bible passage and obscure reference to whales ever previously recorded in print. It is an "adventure" in the loosest sense of the word; I'd much more strongly recommend Tarzan, Allan Quatermain, and John Carter stories when it comes to classic action. I will it credit for saving the climax for the very end. I just wish there had been a few more interesting things to read in the 148 chapters leading up to it.
Reviewer: - May 6, 2021
Subject: veeeeeeeery bad reader
the story was good, but if you have a bad reader then he's all you can hear. and this guy was definitely a bad reader!!!
Reviewer: - March 3, 2021
Subject: moby dick
I think its a cool book and it is nice.
Reviewer: - February 11, 2021
Subject: Good choice
Im bad at English. But this is helpful of upgrade of English ablility.
Reviewer: - January 27, 2021
Subject: Good book and narration was terrible
I recommend the book not the narrator
Reviewer: - September 20, 2020
Subject: Moby Dick
Sadly this book falls into the category all too common at the time of the author trying to show off a wealth of knowledge rather than using the knowledge judiciously to support the plot line. It results in what would have otherwise been a fun short tale transformed into a pointless grind. Well done to the reader for a good effort, but the subject matter was against you.
Reviewer: - June 22, 2020
Subject: Reader
What an awesome reader! He could perfectly express the spirit of Melville.
Reviewer: - May 4, 2018
Subject: Moby Dick
Really irritating that the story keeps on trying to skip to the last chapter. Perhaps because the story drags a lot. I know way more about whale anatomy than I ever wanted...
Reviewer: - December 7, 2017
Subject: Moby Dick
Kind of boring, a lot of needless words, I thought the reader did a very good job keeping my interest.
Reviewer: - August 31, 2017
Subject: understanding the book
one review said that 1/2 the book was unnecessary, but when the book was written there was no internet. Its an educational book, along with a story. Im going to listen to it again.
Reviewer: - July 31, 2017
Subject: Top job
Really enjoyed it. Reader did an awesome job
Reviewer: - March 6, 2017
Subject: READING
I couldn't bear to listen to this reader. No sailor ever sounded like that...EVER!
Reviewer: - February 2, 2017
Subject: Thanks
شكرا جزيرا ^_^
Reviewer: - November 19, 2016
Subject: Moby-Dick
Wills did a great job! Made the book come to life.
Reviewer: - September 1, 2016
Subject: Whale hunting
The cruelty and inhuman attitudes inherent in the whole affair of whale hunting are worth condemnation...
Reviewer: - May 18, 2016
Subject: big spaces
omg he takes a huge break in between words. i hate this. i will just go to my library!!
Reviewer: - March 14, 2016
Subject: Oh god the voices...
There needs to be some sort of casting process before they choose who reads some of these books. Some of this guy's voices for characters are atrocious. He also makes the main character sound very much like a stuffy know-it-all, which isn't at all what I believe the author was going for...
Reviewer: - February 19, 2016
Reader does an amazing job,makes the book really come to the voices for each character.I can see why this book is a classic.extremely well writen.having said all that,half the book is unnecessary.I realize it sets a certain tone,but they do nothing to move the story forward.I felt like captain Ahab,a certain kind of obsession in wanting to finish this book.worth a listen to if you have the time.:-)
Reviewer: - February 18, 2016
Subject: Wonderful.
PERFECT narrator. Surprisingly wonderful book.
Reviewer: - February 11, 2016
I absolutely loved this book I thought it was great there was a few boring parts but besides that you should really read/listen to it!
Reviewer: - February 1, 2016
Subject: Reader
This reader is so plan with no feeling when he reads it makes this book so plan, an I hate it.
Reviewer: - November 21, 2015
Subject: Reader or book?
I'm not sure of it's the reader or just the book that is so bad. There's just so much content that does not provide any benefit to the story. I could not finish it as, frankly, I really don't care what happens. I made it through 60 chapters and just stopped as there was just so much filler junk that I didn't want to bother with.
Reviewer: - October 7, 2015
What a fantastic book! It's a story and also a study about whale fishery in the past centuries. Very thrilling!
Reviewer: - September 19, 2015
Great narrator! Great to finally know this classic tale!
Reviewer: - 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: - May 27, 2013
Subject: Great Book!
What a classic! With my new favorite website, this one of course, and my hobby, I listen to audio books while doing my hobby and not watching TV. This is way better and am I am getting through some of the best classics in the world. Great book, and had some funny parts in it too!
Reviewer: - May 6, 2013
Subject: Well done!
Best regards from Slovakia!
Reviewer: - May 2, 2013
Subject: Excellent
Fantastic read, fantastic novel. At first I was a bit worried because I'm very picky about voices (especially for a long read like this) but Mr. Willis did a great job and really put a lot of thought and character into it. Loved it. Amazing that it's free.
Reviewer: - April 16, 2013
Subject: Well read
I enjoyed Mr. Wills' reading very much, humorous when the text was, poetic when Melville meant it to be and even the -for me - duller chapters were pleasant to listen to. thank you Mr. Wills.
Reviewer: - March 24, 2013
I enjoyed this reading immensely. I read the novel several years ago and needed to review it for a class this week, so I listened to this audio version--it perfectly conveys the alternating intensity, drama, and hilarity of reading the novel... even the bland bits (because, let's face it, this is Moby Dick) are read carefully, sincerely, and very, very well. If you are reading this, Mr. Wills... great job on Melville, and PLEASE tackle Victor Hugo next!
Reviewer: - March 13, 2013
The ultimate reading which comes along with synchronized, clear text.
Reviewer: - January 20, 2013
Subject: fantastic reding
Always wanted to read this book but could not sit still to do so. However with the wonderful voiced characters the reader creates, a set of headphones and long country roads listening and walking this book has been a wonderful adventure.
Reviewer: - January 14, 2013
Subject: Disappointing Narrator
I really tried to get through this, but the guy who narrates is quite possibly the most boring person I've ever heard. I wanted to listen to the book, not get put to sleep by it.
Reviewer: - January 2, 2013
Subject: Worth the time
I enjoyed the read. Thank you to the reader for keeping it interesting.
Reviewer: - December 26, 2012
Subject: Very nice
I really enjoyed this, as this book has always been a favorite of mine.
Reviewer: - December 24, 2012
The voice does this book no justice. Moby dick should not be heard by such a strained voice.

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