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Download The Whale: A Love Story Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Whale: A Love Story Audiobook, by Mark Beauregard Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Beauregard Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2016 ISBN: 9781504738118
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A rich and captivating novel set amid the witty, high-spirited literary society of 1850s New England, offering a new window on Herman Melville’s emotionally charged relationship with Nathaniel Hawthorne and how it transformed his masterpiece, Moby-Dick

In the summer of 1850, Herman Melville finds himself hounded by creditors and afraid his writing career might be coming to an end—his last three novels have been commercial failures, and the critics have turned against him. In despair, Melville takes his family for a vacation to his cousin’s farm in the Berkshires, where he meets Nathaniel Hawthorne at a picnic—and his life turns upside down.

The Whale chronicles the fervent love affair that grows out of that serendipitous afternoon. Already in debt, Melville recklessly borrows money to purchase a local farm in order to remain near Hawthorne, his newfound muse. The two develop a deep connection marked by tensions and estrangements, and feelings both shared and suppressed.

Melville dedicated Moby-Dick to Hawthorne, and Mark Beauregard’s novel fills in the story behind that dedication with historical accuracy and exquisite emotional precision, reflecting his nuanced reading of the real letters and journals of Melville, Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others. An exuberant tale of longing and passion, The Whale captures not only a transformative relationship—long the subject of speculation—between two of our most enduring authors but also their exhilarating moment in history, when a community of high-spirited and ambitious writers was creating truly American literature for the first time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Half history, half imagination, this intimate look into the household and heart of Herman Melville is a quick, compulsive read.”

    Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Beauregard has captured the true hide and grit of that God- and nature-haunted nineteenth-century mind in all its rough, baroque, oddly tender poetry.”

    Washington Post

  • “With scholarly precision, Beauregard assembles a world and constellation of characters out of painstaking and minute details.”

    Harvard Review

  • “Takes readers into the personal lives of these men and makes them come alive beyond their own literary works.”

    Historical Novel Society

  • “Not only an inventive, fictional take on the deeply felt relationship between the two writers but also a sharp examination of the very real struggles Melville faced creatively and financially.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “The real tension and treat here is watching how a distraught, impecunious romantic finds a way to set aside all distractions in pursuit of his artistic grail.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “The circumstances that inspired the classic Moby-Dick by Herman Melville are made wonderfully accessible in this audiobook…[with] Lloyd James’ lively narration…The energy that James projects takes what some may see as a dusty subject and makes it contemporary and intriguing regardless of one’s knowledge of the original novel. James’s strength lies in conversation; he has the skill to create distinct personalities through his development of character voices, accents, tones, and timing…This story is both educational and engaging.”


  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick of Summer Reading, 2016
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About the Author

Mark Beauregard has been a journalist, magazine editor, and most recently, manager of nonprofit arts and community organizations. He has lived in many places throughout the United States and in Europe and currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.

About the Narrator

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.