The storyline is that of the protagonist, Ishmael, hiring aboard the Pequod for a whaling voyage. The ships captain, Ahab, sets out for the relentless and ill-fated pursuit of the white wale that previously took one of his legs. Melvilles writing is best described as experimential. There are passages narrated by the protagonist, lectures on everything to do with whales and whaling, scenes that almost seeme written for a stage-play, as well as passages narrated as if by an impersonal observer. Maybe less than half of the book is the actual account of the pursuit of Moby Dick, yet the lectures on whaling and what not, just seem to give the story more substance.
Clearly Melville portrays an archetypical struggle between, well, good and evil perhaps, or maybe God and man. Yet, many times it seems unclear who is good, who is evil. Even the relentless Ahab has his soft moments, and still is driven by fate towards his certain end. There is something promethean about Ahab, who, for all his hate and madness, seems more human than his mechanical dull-wited crew.
To sum it up, Moby Dick was a very enjoyable read that certainly starts you thinking. I thought about reading it for years, but heard that the language was rather difficult. It is rather antiquated - as was expected - but understandable, nevertheless. Non-native readers probably need a better-than-usual command of english. The chapters are, for the most part, rather short, which makes this book easier to read. Highly recommendable.