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Moby Dick - classic Audio CD – Box set, June 8, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
So why do I speak of him in past tense? Because this man with a gift for words, language and acting (he had classical training as an actor) died on June 4, 2008. You can read more about that on my profile page, if you are so interested.
In the meantime, if you want an audio version of Melville's classic work and if you want to be entranced by the tale of man and whale, you can't do better than this version. Yes, you could read it...yes, you could try to cipher out the meaning in the work but I'd make the argument that listening to Frank Muller read this is likely to lead you towards a greater understanding of this work than if you read it on the page. A controversial view, perhaps, but think of how many plays or works of art or pieces of music you've seen or heard and then consider how much fuller the experience can be when you have a multi-sensory approach. Audiobooks offer that opportunity and when it comes to man and whale and reader and book...well, listen to the version by Frank Muller. For sheer power, grace, beauty and the ability to transmit the MEANING of this novel, you won't do better.
If you don't already know the plot, well...on the surface it is about a man's obsession with hunting one particular whale. The surface, of course, is just that. I'd had to read this book during college and can say that it wasn't till I heard the book read aloud, by Frank Muller, that I began to have a stronger sense of why this book is considered a classic. The man puts the nuances into the words, leads the reader in directions unexpected...a bit like finding some strange sea creature in the depths of the ocean or some awareness in a part of one's brain that was untapped before then. So take your literary journey with Muller as your guide.
After that, if you want to find critiques of the book, try to parse out the transcendent meaning and all that, you'll have had a great start by simply listening to one fine reader first.
For those who do not know the story, it is about a mid 19th century whaling voyage out of Nantucket that degenerates into the chase of one particular whale -- an albino sperm whale named Moby Dick. It once maimed the captain, and he goads on the crew to his unholy (and illegal) cause by greed and fear. The narrator is an able seaman named Ishmael, bored with the life of a landlubber, and the boat is full of remarkable characters all superbly rounded out and dramatized, including 3 striking and highly skilled natives.
For those who do not know the book, be warned -- this is hardly straight narrative. It starts briskly enough for 20 odd chapters or so, but the middle is mostly stuffed with arcane whale lore -- and the real action doesn't start until after chapter 100 (on disc 17 of 18). If you don't already love older style English, you have to be at least open to loving it -- for its own sake -- before embarking on this voyage. You are going to quickly be fairly drowned in it, and also buried in all kinds of factual minutia about whales, in an almost encyclopedic fashion. But Muller's reading is a wonderful way to either come to the book the first time, or revisit it. 4 1/2 stars for the performance -- which very few readers could do as well or at all; the task is doubtless as difficult as the high notes at the end of Beethoven's 9th symphony.
Frank Muller's clear, measured voice is like that of a trusted friend. He relates even then lengthier and more ponderous passages with energy and clarity, capturing the youthful vitality and introspective wonder of Ishmael and expressively rendering the power and inner turmoil of Ahab. Melville's text contains numerous instances of wry humor, and this version highlights those subtle nuances that even veteran readers may overlook.
I often read passages as I listened to the audiobook, and I found that this narration is not only accurate, but also engaging and illuminating. Muller reads with dynamism, often adopting different voices to capture both the sound and speech patterns of particular characters. His portrayals of Queequeg, Peter Coffin, Fleece, and Ahab are of particular note. As a college English instructor, I have played select sequences for my classes with great results.
This audiobook is an outstanding way to introduce new readers to a classic novel or reveal new dimensions to those already familiar with the tale.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Way too long