You all know the story: sailor Ishmael tells the story of the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaler the Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, the white whale that once crippled him.
I'm sure this goes without saying, but this is considered one of the all-time great literary classics. However, I confess, I'm not talking about the original text here, but a retelling from Usborne. I tried to read the original, but I'm afraid the old-fashioned writing style was incomprehensible to me; I'm not a scholar by any means.
So I don't know how much of the text the new writer, Henry Brook, kept intact, but he certainly conveyed the build-up to the voyage, the enormity of the ocean, the sense of isolation, the passage of time and, most importantly, Ahab's ever-growing obsession.
Some lines can be taken as great life lessons, like how no one should be too proud to obey a few orders because, "All of us are slaves to our stomachs, aren't we?"
Many people have noted the book's Shakespearean influences, and I'm no different. In particular, the idea of Ahab thinking he's invincible because of the apparently nonsensical prophecies is right out of Macbeth.
All in all, this Usborne Classics Retold version is the ideal way to experience the story for a casual reader like me. It's not perfect, but I can now see what made Moby Dick so influential, and it's still an engaging read.
My rating: 80%