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Moby Dick

Narrated by: William Hootkins
Length: 24 hrs and 49 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (438 ratings)

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Summary

"Call me Ishmael." Thus starts the greatest American novel. Melville said himself that he wanted to write "a mighty book about a mighty theme" and so he did. It is a story of one man's obsessive revenge-journey against the white whale, Moby-Dick, who injured him in an earlier meeting. Woven into the story of the last journey of The Pequod is a mesh of philosophy, rumination, religion, history, and a mass of information about whaling through the ages.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

Public Domain (P)2005 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.

What listeners say about Moby Dick

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Magnificent book!

An extraordinary work. He weaves the detail and the story together in an unforgettable way. Wonderfully written, wonderfully narrated. This is a book that gains much from bring read aloud so effectively.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

History brought to life

A great yarn about the sea and one man's obsession for an ultimate goal. Melville, who had whaling experience, describes, to the readers of his day, the thrills, the dangers and the way of whaling in his time. We see the type of men that took part, learn about the uses of the whale to society then, such as lighting lamps and umbrella frames. For the modern reader it is first hand knowledge from the past told through the excitement and thrust of story. The narrator, William Hootkins does a good job with the character's voice accents.

12 people found this helpful

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Bad edition

There are random pauses in the middle of phrases every so often, and it doesn't have the metadata for the chapters of the book so good luck trying to find any chapter in the book later on. The kind of edition quality one would expect from a free audiobook someone recorded in their house, not a paid one! Amazon should start putting some quality controls here before people go somewhere else to get nice audiobooks

5 people found this helpful

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Wonderful storytelling

Would you listen to Moby Dick again? Why?

I certainly will listen again. This is a story of such depth and humour, and so wonderfully and passionately told.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Moby Dick?

The ending rises to a powerful crescendo, but actually some of the parts I enjoyed most were right at the start of the book, as the main characters are being introduced.

What about William Hootkins’s performance did you like?

His range of voices and the fire of his performance, which build and builds in the most dramatic moments.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It's too long for a single sitting, but certainly I got through it much more quickly than I would've read the book on its own.

5 people found this helpful

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Captivating!

My most enjoyable listen so far. Moby Dick was a book I kept promising myself to read but never got round to doing so. Listening to the brilliant narration bringing all the cast alive made the whole experience truly amazing. Surely a hard act to follow.

3 people found this helpful

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one annoying problem

this is an amazing book and a wonderful performance. however whoever did the layout did an awful job. I was surprised to see it saying it had only 19 chapters as I had known it to be over 100. howere I realised that each "chapter" did in fact consist of multiple chapters. not really a problem as I normally listen to an hour a day anyway so I thought 1 "chapter" a day would do me nicely. however what I found most annoying is that a "chapter" didn't end with the end of a chapters of the book. but instead ended half way through chapters. so when I set the timer to stop reading at end of chapter I was very much concerned when it suddenly stopped mid sentence. don't know if other versions of the story on here are like that but I did finding it really annoying and it did take me out of the book a few times.

2 people found this helpful

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outrageously good performance

As well acted as any audio book could be. Hootkins captures the madness of Ahab perfectly. He cuts through the dense prose to communicate the meaning so that you don't really have to understand the literal meaning of each word.

2 people found this helpful

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Marvellous classic

A great read and marvellously narrated, albeit on a unpalatable subject that does go into great detail on the slaughter of the poor whales. . .

2 people found this helpful

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briliant reading of a brilliant and unique book

the narrator of this story is superb and im sure adds to what is already a brilliant book.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

What an epic tale... Well narrated, loved every minute of it. Would heartily recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica
  • 18-02-09

Excellent, EXCELLENT reading!

I've been trying to read Moby Dick for years. I would read a few chapters and then drag off and not be able to finish. This reader changed my whole experience with the book. Moby Dick is, of course, a wonderful book, but the reader added a whole new dimension. He brought the characters to life, which gave me a whole new perspective on their personalities (especially Ishmael). This perspective made the plot, subtext and interplay of the book so much more lively and exciting. Even the "boring" parts involving "all you need to know about whaling." Thank you thank you thank you so much, dear reader. You have a great talent!

73 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew
  • 18-09-09

Well Done William Hootkins

I love this book but have found most of the unabridged audiobooks of Moby Dick difficult to listen to. This is a long book with parts that are not exactly high drama - so Hootkins' "overacting" is really good at pulling us through those long arcs. It is certainly the best Moby Dick audiobook out there. I would go out on a limb and say it's actually one of the best audiobooks I've ever heard (my Audible library has over 300 books). I wish each every audiobook was this good.

70 people found this helpful

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  • Pandora
  • 23-06-12

Best Book I Have EVER Read

Since joining Audible a year ago I have chewed through the classics and contemporaries like a wood chipper.

That being said, I say this:

Moby Dick is not just a great book, it is the best book I have EVER read.

None too familiar with it before tackling the read, I'd always for some reason thought it would be stuffy, dusty, old world reading. Nay, my friend. It was saucy, salty, and American.

The subject matter is absolutely riveting to the imagination. The deep inner thoughts of the characters are poetic and stirring. The manic, unresting, hungry intelligence of Ishmael illuminates a world I'd have never known existed, the intimate inner workings of an industry, and the beauty of the experiences had by men who might be dismissed as uneducated and rough. The stories are so spectacular, so grippingly entertaining, I'd often stop what I was doing while listening, hands stilled in their motions, and half smiling and wide eyed, waiting to hear what came next. And sometimes all I could say was, "No, freaking, way."

Treat yourself to Moby Dick.

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Leslie
  • 10-12-09

The reader is great

Great story brought to life by a fantastic reader. His pace is slow enough so that you dont miss anything, and he really brings the characters to life...

14 people found this helpful

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  • Rob S.
  • 20-08-12

Classic in every respect

Would you consider the audio edition of Moby Dick to be better than the print version?

The reading of this book is a performance! I've began looking up book specifically read by William Hootkins. The store is rambling and fragmented at times, you sense Melville has a destination but is in no hurry to get there. His side bar chapters of sailor stories and whale descriptions were like commercials for products I didn't want to buy. But it was all part of the lush tapestry he was weaving so I didn't mind. Overall I loved it! I'd give it a 10>

12 people found this helpful

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  • UncleRupert
  • 05-08-12

Excellent

Would you listen to Moby Dick again? Why?

Obviously Moby Dick is one of the classics, but William Hootkins brings it to life in the most extraordinary manner. I've heard a few different narrators do bits Moby Dick but Hootkins is monster. His range of voices is stunning and he manages to sustain it over 20 hours.

Have you listened to any of William Hootkins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first time I've heard William Hootkins narrate anything, but I would take a punt on almost any book that had him as a narrator.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Martin W
  • 24-03-11

William Hootkins is brilliant!

This recording makes Moby Dick come alive. Hootkins truly understands Melville. I've never been this impressed by a narrator.

10 people found this helpful

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  • M. Y. L.
  • 22-01-17

Bravo!!!

Excellent narration, which is not obvious from the sample. I'm glad I bought this version!! Very enjoyable listening!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Timothy
  • 13-12-10

Hast thou seen the White Whale?

Although Melville can be long winded, this narrator makes the trip worth it. Great listen.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Cain
  • 31-05-19

pompous and over-blown writing

There are some brilliant, beautiful passages here - the burgeoning friendship between the Presbyterian Ishmael and the "cannibal" Queequeg, the battle of wills between Ahab and Starbuck, the interior monologues of the men on the Pequod - as long as the book focuses on the men then it's fascinating. I can understand why this might be the Great American Novel. I loved the first ten chapters or so - and then I slowly grew to hate it. The good and great passages are perhaps ten percent of the book. The rest is god-awful. There are tedious over-written discussions on on whales, and water, and the symbolism of the color white, and the symbolism of the whale's tail, and the symbolism of the whale's neck, and of his mouth, and of his skin, and so on. Every other paragraph seems to contain a reference to either an Old Testament prophet or an Olympian God. It's so pompous that it starts to feel like satire. As for the narrator, for awhile his overacting helps carry us through the slow and boring parts. But after awhile he started to remind me of those American Idol contestants who turn every song into a screaming ballad. There's no modulation. There are some other problems along the way - he likes to do voices and accents, and his attempt at Black American speech is excruciating, and for some reason he portrays an English sailor as a mincing, lisping gay stereotype. And I could even forgive him all this, but he blows the ending. He ramps up the drama and the over-acting, and the final encounter between Ahab and the whale is so over done that it all falls flat. As for audible - the audio book chapters don't match up with actual chapters, so it's hard to skip ahead past the dull parts.

3 people found this helpful