Customer Reviews for

Moby Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

22 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

REQUIRED READING

This is a must read. Herman Melville's Moby Dick received largely unfavorable reviews at the time of publication, and it never brought Melville literary acclaim during his lifetime. It was not until critics rediscovered the novel in the 1920s that it began to be viewed ...
This is a must read. Herman Melville's Moby Dick received largely unfavorable reviews at the time of publication, and it never brought Melville literary acclaim during his lifetime. It was not until critics rediscovered the novel in the 1920s that it began to be viewed as a masterpiece and the apotheosis of the Great American Novel. I also feel this way about K S Michaels' Love Returns..., but that's my opinion.
My own reception of the book, back in my high school days, paralleled its treatment by the literary establishment. While I enjoyed portions of the text, I could not really get into it and actually ended up abandoning the story a few chapters shy of its conclusion. When I later picked it up again, though, out of curiosity rather than necessity, I was hooked. Whether my own maturity or the motive behind reading it were more influential I cannot say, but I suspect that many who find this novel difficult at first will eventually find it a rewarding and noteworthy read.
New readers face three key challenges with this text: fears about its length and complexity, discomfort with Melville's loquacious writing style, and confusion over the juxtaposition of plot, factual discourse, and philosophical musings. These are easily overcome if one reads at a comfortable pace and allows oneself to become acquainted with Melville's language, which is at times reminiscent of the learned style employed by authors like Edgar Allen Poe ( a self-published author, by the way). A wonderful way to understand the nuances of the text and truly "get into" the novel is to listen to the audiobook version, narrated masterfully by Frank Muller.
Reserve this book for a time when you can read it without pressure and expectations. Allow yourself to become immersed in Ishmael's world. Re-read passages that confuse you, and don't be afraid to skip ponderous chapters like "Cetology" if they will prevent you from completing the novel. Whatever you do, though, be sure this is one story you allow yourself to complete, you will be rewarded as you do so.

posted by 148253 on November 7, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

The idea of this book is timeless the execution is painful

I have never struggled so hard to get engaged with a book or to even finish a book. It took three trys over 4 years to finish the book. The first 1/3 of the book was totally useless to me and did not bring enough to the end of the book to justify it's existence. If I ev...
I have never struggled so hard to get engaged with a book or to even finish a book. It took three trys over 4 years to finish the book. The first 1/3 of the book was totally useless to me and did not bring enough to the end of the book to justify it's existence. If I ever pick the book up again, it will be to read the last 1/3 only. Towards the end there is some humours lines, scenes & situations which were truly enjoyable. I realy wanted to enjoy this book more and was very upset that I couldn't.

posted by Hill_Ravens on January 2, 2009

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    A little hard to understand

    A little hard to understand

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2012

    A mismatch

    This novel briefly crossed path of my reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    Test

    Test

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Shakespeare, but more easily understandable

    This novel was a decent read, but a very allusive one, at that. Throughout the book, there really wasn't much storyline, the entire middle of the novel being very lengthy, and somewhat confusing explanations and descriptions of either objects and kind of "how-to" actions that regularly occur on the boat, or else details concerning the prosterity of whaling, resembling that of a series of persuasive, very much opinionated essays, to which had nothing really to do with the story. Amidst these many explanations and ponderings, Melville goes to explain the untold beauty and magnificence of the sperm whale, but, at the same time, attempts to portray the glories and nobility of killing those very creatures that he speaks so highly of, an inner struggle, it seems, that occurred in his mind quite often in the duration of the novel. The storyline, what little there was of it, was really good wrighting on Melville's part, very much addictive, but, strangely enough, the main character, Ishmael, showed his voice few times in the novel, the story focusing, instead, on Ahab and his main hands. I absolutely loved the beginning, and vastly enjoyed the end; in all the story was very good, if you just get past the bulky middle portion of it. You can definitely deturmine Melville's attempts to write like Shakespeare, and I think that he accomplished such quite beautifully, adding his own style to it which made it more easily understood. A decent novel, worth a look at, but I will admit that the middle was extremely tough to get through.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2007

    A reviewer

    American literature did not play a big role in the reading world in the middle 1830s or before. Moby Dick brought American writing into the light. What makes this icebreaking book so good, and why does 'or did' it appeal to so many people? Moby Dick is a story about a young man who joins the crew of a whaling ship, Pequod, with a newfound friend in a ¿savage¿ Pacific islander harpooner, Queequeg. The captain, Ahab turns out to have sworn a vengeance on a white whale, Moby Dick, who ate the lower half of one of Ahab¿s legs. Moby Dick thus is the tale of the adventures of the Pequod in their journey around the seven seas in the hunt for the white whale. Yet, Melville also includes facts on whales and the trade of whaling. The thorough knowledge that is expressed in the book can make for some incredibly boring chapters as Melville uses his wisdom to fill out the pages of the story. The main sections of the plot are very interesting, if you learn to trudge through the 18th century descriptions, which, to the modern reader can be incredibly verbose. Once involved in the story, you find the reading easier. The descriptions also have another downfall, which is the fact that the hunting, killing, and butchering of the whale is extremely graphic and not for the faint-hearted. Such an opportunity is not to be taken by everyone. If you are searching for action between man and sea creature do not take this book, another more modern yarn would be better. Or, if you are an animal lover be strongly warned, the slaughter scenes are disturbing except to a mature mind. Someone seeking knowledge of a forsaken trade, a descriptive tale of those battling the impossible, and a Victorian approach to it all should pick up this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2011

    hi

    .................... its ok

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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