Ella Blackwood, November 11, 2013 (view all comments by Ella Blackwood)
Take Moby Dick, add a dash Uncle Tom's Cabin, throw in cameo appearances by astronomer Maria Mitchell, transcendentalist Margaret Fuller, Frederick Douglass, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. I've read Ahab's Wife twice and I don't read much twice. Ahab's Wife gives us a heroine who fearlessly challenges the forces of nature and society in the early 1800s America. Yes, she marries Captain Ahab, but there are other deep friendships and romances in her life. Like Moby Dick, the prose dips and soars, takes time for tangential musing, and gives us a panoply of unforgettable characters. The world of whaling is explored from a both fresh and familiar angle, that of sailor, survivor, and waiting wife.
Lucy Little, August 9, 2008 (view all comments by Lucy Little)
This fictional account presents the life of a girl/women named Una. She is married to Ahab, Captain of the Pequod, who is known for his conflict with the great white whale Moby Dick. Naslund based her story on a few casual lines in the original story. It's an enjoyable account, though occasionally, I thought of Forrest Gump, as Una continually managed to meet up with intriguing people and events throughout her life.
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by Gail Godwin, author of Evensong,
"Ahab's Wife is a worthy female companion to Moby-Dick and a tour de force in its own right."
by Laurie Robertson-Lorant,
"Based on 19th century sources and peopled with a rich array of fictional, mythic and historical characters, this ambitious novel is a kind of technicolor dream quilt that turns Moby-Dick inside out and stitches it back together....Harrowing, poignant and comical by turns, Ahab's Wife is an audacious romp through mid-19th century New England history that is amply informed by both scholarship and imagination. A spanking good read."
by Elizabeth Renker,
"Ahab's Wife joins a distinguished tradition of literary works inspired by Moby-Dick. Sena Jeter Naslund's homage to Melville is steeped in his work and at the same time explores a world that Melville left largely uncharted: the world of woman's experience in nineteenth-century America. She weaves a richly imagined tapestry of historical details, compelling characters, literary history, metaphysics, and a gripping plot. Ahab's Wife is a riveting novel."
by Brett Lott,
"Ahab's Wife is an epic tour de force, and deserves its rightful place next to Melville's classic. Ambitious, powerful, heartbreaking, and transcendent at once, Una Spenser's tale of a life fully lived gives us what we crave: a compelling story beautifully told. This is a great American novel."
by Wally Lamb, author of I Know This Much Is True,
"Line up the literary prizes. Rendered in language both lush and luminous, Ahab's Wife is sustenance for the mind and soul."
by Los Angeles Times,
"Beautifully written. Lyrical...alluring and wise."
"This is truly a grand...adventure story whose heroine survives on her intellect and courage."
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