Do yourself a favor and listen to the version narrated by William Hootkins, which is splendid in every way. He makes even the driest passages about whale anatomy come alive.
After having read this quite long ago, and now being much older, I found a new appreciation as I read this book again. The richness of the language and the layers of insightfulness were not only enjoyably entertaining but encouragingly meaningful. Melville's words and passages conjure up feelings and issues I deal with in my life, gives some perspective on them, and surely made me thoughtful; and if I had more time I would go back and reread much, but alas, this busy world sails me on in its busy currents. Ishmael is a messenger, leviathan a huge presence in our lives, are we an Ahab or a Job?
The first quarter of the book sets out the characters, scenes, foreshadows some key symbols; the next half of the book is almost entirely about whales and whaling, some of it quite detailed, there is some plot development, and the symbolism and poetic qualities of the writing increase; the last quarter is intensely symbolic, and plot and characters and poetic prose build in a crescendo to a tragic and religious consummation. The narrator is excellent: gives different voices to the characters, and the tone and speed is perfectly modified to the exact place in the development of the narrative.
There is a downloadable item with the same artwork and the same description as this one, but the reader is not Anthony Heald. The reader is Adams Morgan. Whether that is good or bad news, you can best judge, but I think items should be accurately described in the library's catalog.
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