• Alison Larkin Presents: Moby Dick and Two Poems by Herman Melville

  • By: Herman Melville
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Epstein
  • Length: 25 hrs and 9 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Melville’s epic tale of one man versus a great white whale will delight Melville devotees as well as those who have yet to sail on this adventure in this mesmerizing new recording read by Jonathan Epstein.

The mountain whose whale-like shape first gave Melville the idea of writing Moby Dick rests in the Berkshire Hills, Massachusetts, a short drive away from The Alison Larkin Presents recording studio. “I’d been longing to produce Moby Dick ever since I moved to Westeern Massachusetts,” says producer Alison Larkin, “but I wanted to wait to find the perfect actor first. Then, I found Jonathan Epstein.”

At the end of the recording, Larkin interviews Jonathan Epstein and recording engineer Galen Wade about the experience recording the great novel. 

Jonathan Epstein is an acclaimed actor who has performed on and off Broadway, in London’s West End, and with the world-renowned Shakespeare & Company. Epstein is the two-time recipient of Boston’s coveted Elliot Norton Award.

Public Domain (P)2021 Alison Larkin Presents

What listeners say about Alison Larkin Presents: Moby Dick and Two Poems by Herman Melville

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Absolutely outstanding

I listened to this superb audiobook on a long car journey between Georgia and Boston and back again. What an experience! I have come to expect outstanding quality from Alison Larkin Presents productions and this exceeded even my high expectations.

The infamous story has been brought to life by a narrator at the top of his game. Jonathan Epstein's performance has you entranced from the very beginning. My teenage daughter loved it every bit as much as I did.

I found the interview at the end between the producer Alison Larkin and the narrator and the engineer so very interesting. They recorded it during the pandemic and the story about Epstein driving up to Melville territory to record this was fascinating. It was also very interesting to hear from a recording engineer how deeply he was affected by the experience. If I could give this one more than five stars, I surely would.

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A long read, or listen, with a lot to digest!

"All the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick." - Ishmael, Chapter 41.

About a month ago I have set sail on the vast pages of Herman Melville's Moby Dick or The Whale and I have met the white whale and survived!!!! Now don't ask me to have a huge discussion on it because I so didn't grasp much, but I finished this huge piece of literature that is one of the great classics of Western literature and that is one hell of an achievement hahahaha.

Three valuable lessons I took from it is one must be careful so they don't obsess over things, listen to your friends when they try to tell you that you have gone bat shit crazy, and find yourself a good pagan friend because they are awesome and will have your back hahahaha. Herman Melville's book Moby Dick is definitely a challenge to get through and is definitely a book that needs ro be dissected and read a little slower so one can understand the vast depths of Herman's prose and symbolism. Having a broader understanding of the world, religion, and cultural history also helps to understand this colossus of a book as Herman loves to pull from so many areas of life to convey the message of the book, which is a lot in itself. After reading this book I actually watched a few videos on different interpretations and reviews of the book, and I also read quite a few articles and even CliffsNotes on the book just so I can further understand this classic.

Moby Dick has many, many, themes to it and is full of many different symbolisms. I have read many different thoughts on the book, and some I disagree with or just don't understand how they came to those conclusions. What I personally took from the book is that it is about obsession and revenge, what is good and evil, life and death and rebirth, humanity, nature versus nurture, religious tolerance, friendship, and even racism and racial tolerance which would have been very surprising in 19th century writing and which kind of made this book a trailblazer in its time.

Some also say this book also was about gay marriage which I personally didn't feel it was. Ishmael and Queequeg were close friends, this is true, and I think people read the words "marriage", when Queequeg liked Ishmael in the beginning of the book, as a romantic union, but personally taking who he was and where Queequeg came from I feel he was saying him and Ismael were close friends, inseparable, and I feel it was more of a "marriage" between two elements, Pagan and Christianity and how these two were cohabitating. And the reason I say this is I feel the whole book is about opposites and contrasting beliefs, but is also about tolerance between these differences along with working and living together. The ship itself, The Pequod, is also said to be a microcosm of the world itself as it is a small space where men of different religions, ethnicities, skin color, and personalities all cohabitate together and must work together in order to survive. Their success and own survival depends on the trust and the working together of the crew, and a huge part of this is shown in the friendship of Ishmael and Queequeg, who were my favorite two characters.

All in all Moby Dick was definitely a challenging endeavor for sure. As it was written in 1851 the writing is a challenge, the book is huge, and the story is interrupted quite a bit about whale lore, whaling history, and sailing knowledge. This is why I gave the book three stars. It definitely wasn't a book I usually read, I did struggle to finish it and almost wanted to give up on this voyage and set sail for land half way through, but Herman Melville definitely knows how to write beautifully, poetically, and also with humor and that's what I did enjoy.

"To the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee." - Captain Ahab, Chapter 135.