Benito Cereno

Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(4.4 stars; 48 reviews)

On an island off the coast of Chile, Captain Amaso Delano, sailing an American sealer, sees the San Dominick, a Spanish slave ship, in obvious distress. Capt. Delano boards the San Dominick, providing needed supplies, and tries to learn from her aloof and disturbed captain, Benito Cereno, the story of how this ship came to be where she is. Dealing with racism, the slave trade, madness, the tension between representation and reality, and featuring at least one unreliable narrator, Melville's novella has both captivated and frustrated critics for decades. (Summary by Nullifidian) (3 hr 53 min)


Ch 1 - A Ship 10:35 Read by Nullifidian
Ch 2 - Aboard San Dominick 17:41 Read by Nullifidian
Ch 3 - Don Benito's Story 9:10 Read by Nullifidian
Ch 4 - The Blacks 17:52 Read by alwpoe
Ch 5 - Questions 18:52 Read by James K. White
Ch 6 - The Boat Appears 23:42 Read by James K. White
Ch 7 - The Boat Arrives 15:59 Read by James K. White
Ch 8 - In the Cuddy 27:11 Read by Bill Mosley
Ch 9 - Business 6:28 Read by Iris McLeod
Ch 10 - Safe Harbour 17:54 Read by James K. White
Ch 11 - Into the Boat 11:32 Read by James K. White
Ch 12 - Pursuit 8:44 Read by James K. White
Ch 13 - A Deposition 38:34 Read by Guero
Ch 14 - Conclusion 9:03 Read by James K. White


(5 stars)

This was a heavy and foreboding tale, wrapped in mystery and questions of deception. I found the book very entertaining and engaging. The reading was fine and by adjusting the speed went smoothly. Melville, as usual, creates absorbing characters, and with whom one is left, in this case, on the windless sea.

(3.5 stars)

The first reader was really difficult to get through and one in the very middle was quite tedious, but the rest went well. I'm glad I pushed through. Better to just read the first two chapters through.

(3 stars)

This book has more clear language than some of the author's later more knotty, metaphysical works--a welcome respite. But the racist depiction of the black slaves grates on our modern sensibiites.

An interesting tale

(5 stars)

A wonderful narration by an expressive reader is almost ruined by background white noise in the first part.

(5 stars)

well read with the exception of one chapter by some texan who should have been rejected.

(0.5 stars)

The reading is difficult to listen to, which, given Melville’s language, is a shame.


(5 stars)

very well read by the various readers

it's homophobic

(5 stars)

No explicit gay orgies. Remember any story that does not explicitly describe anuses being impaled by multicultural penises is in fact homophobic and raycyst. Story needs to be pulled from the world's libraries. Children could read this story and become rampaging, homophobic, raycyst, colonizing, cultural imperialists