Ahab's Wife, Or, The Star-gazer

Ahab's Wife, Or, The Star-gazer

A Novel

Paperback - 2005
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From the opening line--"Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last"--you will know that you are in the hands of a master storyteller and in the company of a fascinating woman hero. Inspired by a brief passage in Moby-Dick, Sena Jeter Naslund has created an enthralling and compellingly readable saga, spanning a rich, eventful, and dramatic life. At once a family drama, a romantic adventure, and a portrait of a real and loving marriage, Ahab's Wife gives new perspective on the American experience.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Alternative Title: Star-gazer
Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial, 2005.
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial ed.
ISBN: 9780060838744
0060838744
Branch Call Number: Fic
PZ4.N255 Aha 2005
Characteristics: xvii, 668 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

One of our all-time favorite reads. Naslund was inspired by one line in Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." Una Spenser''s marriage to Captain Ahab is certainly a crucial element in the narrative of Ahab''s Wife, but the story covers vastly more territory. a breathtaking, magnificent, and up... Read More »


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A huge story spanning the life & times of Una, the wife of Captain Ahab from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The saga of Una’s life includes her experiences growing up in a Nantucket lighthouse, her work as a cabin boy on Ahab’s ship, and finally her marriage to Ahab himself. The history of American whaling and slavery are interwoven into Una’s personal sorrows of widowhood and her encounters with such famous people as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller. For readers who enjoy historical fiction told from a very personal point of view.

l
leivrl
Jan 20, 2014

I enjoyed the book and its descriptions of the whaling culture. I did think it could have used tighter editing, as some minor parts of the book seemed unconnected to the story.

m
miaone
Dec 05, 2013

Ahab's Wife is possibly my favorite book of all times. I've read it and reread it and will no doubt read it several more times before I die. I can relate especially to the part that takes place in Kentucky, which is the land of my forebears. I found her descriptions, characters, and behavior completely believable.
The part of the book that takes place on Nantucket I really loved because of the strong Quaker influence on her. I have enjoyed knowing many Quaker friends in my life, and I love their values and deliberate ways of behaving. I found Naslund's characterization of Ahab to be believable; I felt like I knew him in person.
My review is getting long, so I'll just add that this fascinating main character of Una had many more parts of her life that drew me in and convinced me.
Yes, the sentences are often long; that's the way they wrote back in the mid-1800's, and she's being true to the time. Take your time, enjoy her descriptions and characters. They're well worth it.

m
missmellyg85
May 09, 2013

I really liked this book. It was slow paced, but descriptive and adventurous. It didn't require the petty romance or obsession that is so common to books and stories nowdays. This book keeps you closely entwined as the main character weaves her story of loss and discovery.

d
DanielleLeonard
Feb 01, 2009

An interesting concept for a book; however, the story and characters fall short, despite its hefty 600 plus pages. The author's language is overdone and the main character's inner voice is not believable given the time period in which she resides. I do not recommend this book to anyone.

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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

If you meet a woman of whatever complexion who sails her life with strength and grace and assurance, talk to her! And what you will find is that there has been a suffering, that at some time she has left herself for hanging dead.

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