On the whole, Moby Dick is a readable book, for it does contain some remarkable passages. With some editing, it could have risen in my estimation, and fared better in the era before symbolists explained that what is presented is not as important, as what metaphors, what allusions, (what illusions) it can inspire. Since the book is sold as the battle between the whale and Captain Ahab, I must add that the face-off between these occurs only in the last thirty pages of a six hundred and fifty-five page version I read. The build-up to the battle begins so far into the novel, that by then most people who read for readings sake, would have given up. The reader is as exhausted as maybe Melville was when he brought his epic struggle of writing this to an end.
Surprisingly, while I did find that I had marked at least hundred pages as worth revisiting (and that in my typical estimation makes it an awesome novel), I was more disappointed than not, after finishing the novel. Even in translation, the Russians and the French find favor from me and I feel transformed after reading them. I prefer and prescribe Lawrence, Maugham, Hemingway, Nabokov, Victor Hugo, Virgina Woolf, Dickens, Joyce, Marquez, Tolstoy, Tagore, Dostovesky, Prem Chand, Pamuk, Gogol, Austen, Forster, Rushdie, and many more over Melville. Be it for entertainment, word play, historical or mythical content or for sheer imagery or all together, I will recommend at least a hundred novels that must enter your reading room before this Whale rams its way there.