Customer Reviews

178
3.8 out of 5 stars
Moby-Dick (Vintage Classics)
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£6.99+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 1997
A suberb, atmospheric book of biblical proportions. It is a journey through Melvilles obsession, as well as Ahabs, and presents a robust and romantic metaphor on oligarchy and the power and influence that psychopaths in charge exert over their crew or army. Fury like Ahabs has an almost indominatable force. Men like this have lead many unwilling accomplices to their graves. If it was't a whale it would have been something else, a mountain, a country, possesion, endless wealth, the lust to usurp and dominate.
I loved Melvilles rambling passages about whales.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 1999
This is an amazing metaphor for good vs evil, one of the best I've ever seen. The insane drive of Ahab, his refusal to listen to Starbuck or anyone else who tried to turn him away from the darkness of the water, his moment of tragic truth and his final destruction are all elements that make Melville's masterpiece's consideration as a classic deserved.
My favorite aspect of the book is Fedallah, Ahab's Psychic Friends Network, who is always just standing around, saying something foreboding or looking at us in a way that foretells Ahab's doom.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 1998
The whale. Herman Melville's whale. The whale of Ahab's tortured monomania. The appalling white whale that confronts you, tears your limbs, terrible in his wrath, imposing his power, his beauty, his wickedness, his divinity. Of course the whale is a symbol. But of what? So many things it is impossible to pigeonhole. Ishmael says several times that "the whale has no face." The whale is like looking at a blank wall. It is a tabula rasa, a mystery, and throughout the tale affixed so many explanations that in the end he defies definition. Subjectivity reigns. Just examine "The Whiteness of the Whale" and "The Doubloon" chapters. Myriad ambivilant meanings abound. And this is what makes Moby Dick so great.
Stylistically, the rhetoric soars. Contorted and ornamental, sentinous and profound, Melville's dark prose is masterful. Towards the end of the book the descriptions of the hunt, the chase, the horror, the madness, the violence, the destruction, the death, all transcend to a fury of grand, operatic scale. The prose moves like the Catskill eagle in "The Try-Works" chapter " that can dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces." Mellville's prodigious creation is realistic and romantic, turbulent and symbolic. It will last. Moby Dick is an epic of the sea such as no writer has equalled.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 21 October 2014
So hard to read
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 7 February 2015
what a classic
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
22 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2001
I stuck this book out to the bitter end just to see when Moby would appear. Presumably they didn't have editors in those days, or this would be a very much shorter and better book. Although it is contemporary with Dickens, it reads as though it was written at least two centuries before. The language is archaic, overblown and melodramatic. Melville is trying to sound Shakespearian, but it just seems contrived. There are all sorts of miscellaneous information about whales, whalers and whaling. He regularly drops the entire story to digress into e.g. whales in art. On the positive side, it is interesting to see how little was known about whales at the time, and most of that was wrong! The passages on whaling are the most interesting, and give an idea of what it must have been like to go after whales in hostile seas in a small open boat with hand-thrown harpoons. What happen to the whales after harpooning is described in fascinating and gruesome detail. Disappointingly Moby himself does not appear until the very end of this whale-sized book. But insted of building up tension the disjointed rambling nature of the book just generates frustration and impatience. The modern reader is likely to be much more sympathic to the whales than Melville was, which alters the emotional balance of the book, and creates a sense of alienation. This is certainly not an easy read, and the writing makes it almost impossible to skip-read. If you embark on it then be prepared for a major undertaking.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2006
The central story of this book; of obessession, madness and infectious insanity, mixed up with religious connotations is reasonably good. However, the central story occupies around half of the book, if that. The rest is a dull, poorly written study of whaling and cetology. There are endless passages droning on and on about whaling boats, whaling implements, rendering down whales and of course the natural history of whales themselves.

The bits on cetology are particularly grating to a modern reader because they are so factually incorrect. Melville states, with the greatest authority, that a whale is definitely a fish, indisputably, even though he has just listed a load of features that the whale has that fish don't, even though the scientific thinking of the time was pointing towards whales being mammals. This sort of stuff and the fact that Melville clearly used the story as a platform for writing a whaling manual ruined what is at its heart a decent tale.

I suggest you just watch the film, or see if anyone has released an edited version.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 1998
Journey back in time to the nineteenth century New England. Live the life of a hardy, diligent sailor in pursuit of high-sea glory, and face the most cryptic, diabolical symbol of humanity, the Great White Whale. Encounter strange people, and visit exotic isles where no landlubber has ever venture before. Ahoy, matey! Captain Ahab awaits!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
A good read
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2011
I bought this as it's regarded as a real classic. Shame I can't find the enthusiasm to get past about the 10th chapter. And there are hundreds of chapters.

I'm not the greatest reader ever, in fact for the past 10 years I've barely read anything that wasn't a magazine, sports pages, or instruction manual. However, I was brought up reading books every day, and have started to do that again this year. Having read through about 6 books, a couple of which were other Penguin Classics, I was looking for something epic; some huge story that would keep me reading for weeks.
I bought Moby Dick and took it on holiday.

I returned from my holiday having only read the aforementioned number of chapters and feeling rather exhausted of the book already.

Now I know that I probably shouldn't be writing a review of something that I didn't even finish, and didn't even get half way through. But then again, most of the other reviews on here are the same and I can see why.

I read the first few chapters and begun wondering if I could really consider myself English speaking, considering that for large parts of the text I could barely understand what was being said, and had to struggle to read paragraphs over and over before I felt ready to move on. (I know this was written nearly 200 years ago, but I've read other books from the 1800s and understood them completely).

Then after a few more chapters I began to doubt whether there really was a story going on here at all.

After a few more chapters I began to see a recurring theme:

Man sees/does/hears something. He decsribes it for two pages.
He turns around. Describes that for two pages.
He thinks about how he did the same thing 20 years ago. For 5 pages.
He likens the whole experience to something completely unrelated. Then philosophises over it.
After 10 pages you get back to the story, for a little bit before he does it again.

I just could not keep interested in this. I wanted to read a story about a man going to sea to kill a whale. After 10 chapters he's only had one night in a pub and then goes to church to listen to sermons and think about bible stories for ages. when does he get on the boat?!

I won't get rid of it. Maybe one day I'll be really ill after learning the entire English language of the last 200 years and have nothing else to do but lie in bed reading. But I would still think I could find something that will hold my interest for a lot longer than this.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Moby Dick (Wordsworth Classics)
Moby Dick (Wordsworth Classics) by Herman Melville (Paperback - 5 May 1992)
£1.99

Moby-Dick (Collector's Library)
Moby-Dick (Collector's Library) by Herman Melville (Hardcover - 1 Aug. 2004)
£7.99

 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.