Gus Sanchez's Reviews > Moby-Dick or, The Whale

Moby-Dick or, The Whale by Herman Melville
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Aug 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: favorites-you-should-read

(Hmm...this was sitting in my "Currently Reading" shelf, even though I'd finished this one almost a year ago...)

It's generally agreed upon - well, at least by lit snobs everywhere - that Moby Dick is one of the greatest novels ever written. I'll concede this opinion to be mostly true.

I'll spare you the details: you pretty much know it's about some crazy captain named Ahab who harbors a deliriously obsessive grudge against a white whale named - wait for it - Moby Dick that nom nom nom-ed his leg. Ahab's a little fuckin' nuts. Oh, and some dude named Ishmael narrates the story. Ishmael's a bit long winded; Twitter would have confounded him greatly.

Alright, so let's nitpick. Truth be told, Moby Dick has aged about as gracefully as a novel written in the 1850s would have, which is to say, not very well. At over 600 pages, about 350 of which is nothing more than scientific and technical jargon, and not to mention some well-intentioned but hilariously racist meditations on the "savages" aboard the Pequod that would make even the most hardened white supremacist blush, Moby Dick suffers from some pacing problems. And, yeah, Ishmael just never seems to want to get to the point. Mildly irritating, really. After a while, you're just like, "DUDE, WILL YOU FUCKING GET ON WITH IT ALREADY?"

But when Moby Dick does take off, and my word, it does, the novel soars, racing through the chop and bluster of the high South Pacific seas, knocking you to and fro. Mind you, I read this poolside at a Miami Beach hotel (as one does when they've chosen something as light and fluffy as Moby Dick as their Summer Read), sweat glistening off my chest, a sturdy and VERY BOOZY pina colada in my free hand...yet there I was, shivering, at the edge of the pool chair, enthralled by the thrill of the chase. Heady, masculine stuff.

Look, Moby Dick really isn't everyone's cup of tea. I struggled through it, but I'm glad I read it. But there's no way in hell I'll read this one again.
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Reading Progress

August 27, 2011 – Started Reading
August 27, 2011 – Shelved
August 27, 2011 –
page 25
3.47% "Lord help me, I'm finally going to read this book. I must be nuts. Someone talk me out of this. Actually, I've been looking forward to reading this. You can go back to reading Jimmy Buffett's crap now."
August 30, 2011 –
page 89
12.36%
September 1, 2011 –
page 110
15.28%
September 8, 2011 –
page 156
21.67%
September 23, 2011 – Finished Reading
October 5, 2011 –
page 230
31.94%

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Gus (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gus Sanchez Lord help me, I'm taking a whack at this book.


Steve Chaput I love this book. Remember watching the John Houston film many times as a kid, and reading the Classics Illusrated comic long before I ever took a chance with Melville's novel.

Can't recall how many times I have read it since high school, including taking part in two marathon readings at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.


message 3: by Rayroy (new)

Rayroy "Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian."


Elliott Turner It's on my list to re-read. If I recall correctly from back in the day, it's 200 great pages surrounded by a sea of blah.

The film also tore my heart from a movie snob perspective. An opening with a dude walking around and then saying "Call me, Ishmael"? Really? Is that the best way to start an audio-visual interpretation?


message 5: by Melki (new)

Melki Congratulations on your perseverance.


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