On an island off the coast of Chile, Captain Amaso Delano, sailing an American sealer, sees the San Dominick, a Spanish slave ship, in obvious distress. Capt. Delano boards the San Dominick, providing needed supplies, and tries to learn from her aloof and disturbed captain, Benito Cereno, the story of how this ship came to be where she is. Dealing with racism, the slave trade, madness, the tension between representation and reality, and featuring at least one unreliable narrator, Melville's novella has both captivated and frustrated critics for decades. (Summary by Nullifidian)
Unpleasant subject, wonderful delivery of story
Benito Cereno covers the mature subject of slave rebellion. Worth a listen if only for history's sake, but the sheer abundance of racism would make any 21st century human being a little unnerved
DEFINITLY NOT FOR CHILDREN!
This is not a book for young children. In 1855 the views on race were much different than today, and they are on full display in this controversial novel by Melville. I recommend reading a little background (Wikipedia is a good place) to find out if this book about slave rebellion on the high seas is your cup of tea. That being said I found it riveting, frightening, strange, and enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately, this really needed to be read by one good reader to carry the sense portent through the book. While most of the readers did a passable job... it was pretty weak in the middle.