Moby Dick, or the Whale

Read by Stewart Wills

(4.3 stars; 880 reviews)

Few things, even in literature, can really be said to be unique — but Moby Dick is truly unlike anything written before or since. The novel is nominally about the obsessive hunt by the crazed Captain Ahab of the book’s eponymous white whale. But interspersed in that story are digressions, paradoxes, philosophical riffs on whaling and life, and a display of techniques so advanced for its time that some have referred to the 1851 Moby Dick as the first “modern” novel. (Summary by Stewart Wills)

(24 hr 37 min)


Chapter 000: Etymology and Extracts 29:13 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 001-002 23:56 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 003 34:53 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 004-007 27:10 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 008-009 29:36 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 010-012 19:28 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 013-015 23:08 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 016 35:18 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 017-021 42:49 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 022-025 27:25 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 026-027 19:20 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 028-031 25:00 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 032 36:58 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 033-035 38:11 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 036-040 42:17 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 041 26:29 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 042-044 43:36 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 045-047 37:09 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 048-050 38:29 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 051-053 27:05 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 054 54:14 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 055-058 37:09 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 059-063 38:45 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 064-067 37:05 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 068-071 34:21 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 072-073 24:34 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 074-077 30:27 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 078-080 24:03 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 081-082 36:45 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 083-086 37:38 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 087-088 40:31 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 089-091 33:56 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 092-096 42:47 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 097-100 43:25 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 101-104 40:03 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 105-108 37:07 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 109-113 41:00 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 114-118 25:57 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 119-123 32:43 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 124-127 32:40 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 128-132 42:23 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 133 24:58 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 134 22:48 Read by Stewart Wills
Chapter 135 and Epilogue 35:01 Read by Stewart Wills


A Superbly Read Masterpiece

(5 stars)

What a remarkable reading of a dense and unfriendly book! Moby Dick is not seemingly a book that would lend itself well to audio form, as it is such a long and winding story. The reader is completely captivating though, and tells the story beautifully. The recording is high quality across all 100+ chapters and even in those long digressions Melville is so fond of, his voice remains clear and unfaltering. I particularly enjoyed the different voices he used for the characters - dramatic enough that it was obvious who was speaking but not cartoonish and overwrought, as is often the case with so many audiobooks. An excellent job. Speaking as someone who vastly prefers reading to listening to audiobooks this is still how I would recommend unfamiliar readers engage with Moby Dick!

Well done!

(4.5 stars)

Thank you, Narrator, for your excellent labor of love. As for the book itself, it starts off a little slow but eventually demonstrates entertaining genius in the various character expressions, e.g., the unwilling slave who preaches to the sharks. I know a lot of readers find the marine expositions (chapters) to be laborious and divergent from the story, but I found them to be interesting, educational and necessary for full and proper comprehension of a tale at sea. This is definitely one of the best books I've ever read. The narrator is really terrific with the various voices and personalities, the shark preaching situation again being the prime example. Such fun!

excellent narration

(5 stars)

This is the first LibraVox production I have listened to in its entirety, and I could not have been more pleased! Stewart Wills, the narrator for Moby Dick, has such a pleasant voice—but beyond that, a flare for the dramatic that allowed him to interpret the entire cast of characters from Ishmael to Queequeg, from Ahab to Stubbs, from Starbuck to Flask. I have recommended this recording to others and fully expect they will enjoy it as much as I did. Hats off to Mr. Wills for his dedication and time spent providing a treasure for us all!

Meandering, disordered lectures with bits of story

(2 stars)

Listening to this book is like being stuck on an elevator (for weeks) with a hyper-talkative idiot savant with ADD and an obsession with whales. I spent every summer of my youth in Nantucket's whaling museums and thought I knew a thing or two. Melville certainly puts me to shame. From the lectures in this book, I have learned: The Several Substances Within a Whale's Skull: Their Appearance, Texture and Uses and Methods of Collection; Complete Sperm Whale Skeletons in Private Collections: with Addresses, Visiting Hours and Prices of Admission; Whales as Depicted in Both High and Low Art: A Critique by the Author; Specie-Specific Techniques in Whaling, With Minute Instructions; Fashioning Necessary Tools on a Whaling Ship, with Minute Instructions; The Symbology of the Color White: A Multicultural Review; A History of Whaling Around the World: From Its Beginning to the Present Day; In Passionate Defense of Whaling, a Proud and Noble Industry: with Myriad Arguments; A Complete Examination of the Spine of the Sperm Whale, with Exact Measurements of the Vertebrae; Phrenology and Facial Expressions of the Sperm Whale; Whales in Historical Literature...shall I go on? Because Melville sure does. I suspect Melville meant to write a textbook on whaling, and his publisher balked and insisted on a rollicking sea adventure. So Melville just squeezed it in. As I think another reviewer said, it can easily lose fifty chapters without the slightest harm to the story about Ishmael and Ahab. Which is interesting, but hidden throughout the book in bits and pieces- the price for getting to the next part of the story seems high. (I want a new paragraph here, but my iPad won't let me have one.) To other reviewers, a polite request: please don't critique other people's reviews (of books or of readers) or insult them for disagreeing with you about a book. It's unpleasant to read and is not helpful or informative, which is the point of these reviews. I hope my review has been both. Thank you.

A stellar reading.

(5 stars)

Unbelievably excellent reading. It reminded me of how, in many instances, Shakespeare is best understood to the modern ear with vocal inflections and the like conveying the author's intent. Stuart Willis, thou hast done a masterful job. As to the content, it goes without saying this book is a cornerstone of American thought, and should be regarded as more of a "Brothers Karamazov" than merely a whaling story. Melville concocts a casserole of many things, from reflections on humankind to symbology to the proper method of procuring whale oil. Also a killer story though.

(5 stars)

The book, for me, was neither bad nor good. Great story line but a little to all over the place. My reason for writing this review is to say how much I enjoyed the reader. Stewart did an amazing job at bringing this book to life. I don't know if I would have finished listening if it wasn't for him. I couldn't wait to start listening each day. It's a bummer that I can only find one other book that he reads, but I look forward to listening. Crazy good job Stewart. Thank you.

a classic, very long but good

(4 stars)

without the voice of this wonderful reader i would NEVER have been able to get through this long book with all its unnecessary details. five star job by the reader! the writer is really good, and there is so much humor in his writings (just look at the first meeting of Ishmael and Queequeg). unfortunately the writer goes off on chapters long descriptions of tools, boat equipment, and whales. they will put you to sleep! but when the writer gets back to the story at hand, it is very good. the storyline most people already know - but i still enjoyed reading it.

5 stars for the reader, 3 stars for the book.

(4 stars)

The book itself is looooong (135 freaking chapters PLUS an epilogue!) and the 3:1 of expository chapters are dry and sometimes hard to get through. The author Herman Melville seems like he couldn't decide whether he was writing a novel or a textbook, and judging by this book I strongly suspect he had ADD. Not to mention the sometimes objectionable content (racism and whaling, but this was 1851). BUT... The reading itself is incredibly fluid. Pacing, tone, fluency, pronunciation, accents (mostly) are all excellent, and I LOVE all of the character voices (the reader provides a distinctly different/unique one for EACH)! The fact that I am now 2/3 through the book is completely thanks to the EXCELLENT reader, Stewart Wills. Kudos! :-)