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Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star-gazer: A Novel (P.S.)
Ahab's Wife Or The Star-gazer A Novel - P.S.
Author: Sena Jeter Naslund
A magnificent, vast, and enthralling saga, Sena Jeter Naslund's Ahab's Wife is a remarkable epic spanning a rich, eventful, and dramatic life. Inspired by a brief passage in Moby Dick, it is the story of Una, exiled as a child to live in a lighthouse, removed from the physical and emotional abuse of a religion-mad father. I...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780061767654
ISBN-10: 0061767654
Publication Date: 6/1/2009
Pages: 704
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.

4.2 stars, based on 7 ratings
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 1
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star-gazer: A Novel (P.S.) on + 71 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I read this book for a class I was taking at university: Gender Studies. One warning: you really should have read Moby Dick before reading this.

As an English major, I could go on and on, but I won't. That sort of textual critique is all well and good for scholars, but not for someone who wants to enjoy a good book

The novel is very well written, lyrical even. Having grown up on the east coast, I can tell that the author did a great deal of research into the habits, social culture, and whaling culture of the time. The problem is that for me it is perhaps a bit too beautiful.

It begins with the main character in labor, about to give birth to her first child. Soon events in her life lead her to begin a reverie in which she returns to her childhood (age 12) and reflects on the events which set her on the patch to her present situation. The book eventually ends up at a point past Ahab's death (I told you that you should have read Moby Dick first!).

During her childhood years, the adult storyteller is adding beautiful, reflective, spiritual, lyrical terms which a child wouldn't know. To me, it felt like there was no growth to the character, there was no change from the child at the beginning to the adult at the end. Always a deep thinker, always somehow able to get what she wanted. It just didn't ring true for me.

Warning: This is a *long* one....668 pages.
reviewed Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star-gazer: A Novel (P.S.) on + 162 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I certainly liked this better than I liked Moby Dick, but that's not saying a heck of a lot... this book is much better than its inspiration. Una is a heroine who is a unique combination of strength and loner, and her story tells of the sort of life that many of us women wish we could live -- many adventures, many chapters to her life, all different and all rich in their own ways.

Although overly detailed in places, this is one heck of a good read.
reviewed Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star-gazer: A Novel (P.S.) on + 216 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This book is a wonderful story inspired by the book Moby Dick. You do not need to have read Moby Dick to enjoy this novel, it is a wonderful work of fiction that stands on its own. The writing is superb, and the characters very compelling. A must read for people who enjoy "literary fiction."

AFter reading this book, I also bought "The Sinking of the Whaleship Essex" wish is the true story of a boat sunk by a whale. This true adventure was the inspiration for the idea of Moby Dick. If you enjoy historical fiction, check this one out.

Both Ahabs Wife and the Sinking of the Whaleship Essex are part of my permanent collection.
reviewed Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star-gazer: A Novel (P.S.) on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
For the first time in my reading experience, I really FELT the ocean.
reviewed Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star-gazer: A Novel (P.S.) on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
It took me about 23 pages into the book before I was comfortable with the author's style of writing. She writes narratively, but poeticly, and once I got in the rhythm of her cadence, so to speak, I was hooked! There a moments that I was literally sobbing or rejoicing along with the character. This book is one of a very rare few that I will keep and read over and over again.
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reviewed Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star-gazer: A Novel (P.S.) on + 25 more book reviews
A complex and multi-layered story that kept me reading greedily until the final page. Naslund imagines the woman who would marry Moby Dick's Ahab, and gives her a lively history that outshines that of the captain himself. The rich historical detail and honest characters gave the novel great depth.

We meet the title character as a young girl and follow her through her life on the frontier, at a lighthouse keeper's cottage, on a whaling ship and as the wife of the venerable Ahab, but that marriage is only a small part of the story.

The moment I finished the book I wanted to read everything else Naslund had written.