Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer ePUB ñ or The eBook

Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer ePUB ñ or The eBook


    Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer ePUB ñ or The eBook and catastrophe the story of a devoted wife who witnesses her husband s destruction by obsession and madness Ultimately it is the powerful and moving story of a woman s triumph over tragedy and loss through her courage, creativity, and intelligence."/>
  • Paperback
  • 704 pages
  • Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer
  • Sena Jeter Naslund
  • English
  • 27 September 2019
  • 0060838744

10 thoughts on “Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer

  1. Emily Emily says:

    Ick I hated this book I felt that the author was basically living out her own fantasy of being adored by these historical and fictional men I mean, she even finds a way to work in Hawthrone and Emerson having a crush on her It s the kind of book where the heroine stands on the deck of ships or ports, or lighthouses with her hair blowing in the wind a lot All men want her She survives great hardship with her noble spirit intact And she has an intelligent, sensitive soul that is eventuall Ick I hated this book I felt that the author was basically living out her own fantasy of being adored by these historical and fictional men I mean, she even finds a way to work in Hawthrone and Emerson having a crush on her It s the kind of book where the heroine stands on the deck of ships or ports, or lighthouses with her hair blowing in the wind a lot All men want her She survives great hardship with her noble spirit intact And she has an intelligent, sensitive soul that is eventually recognized by the greatest minds of her generation Historical fiction or historical masturbation


  2. Mary Mary says:

    Whoa finally finished this baby Reading this is quite an investment in time at least 1000 words could easily be sliced out to create acoherent epic Word of warning whenever you have a novel, based on an american classic and an infamously difficult one at that written by an english professor, you can expect literary symbolism to abound In this case, I think the author gets caught up in her own cleverness she throws everything but the kitchen sink at us Freedom or Liberty seem to Whoa finally finished this baby Reading this is quite an investment in time at least 1000 words could easily be sliced out to create acoherent epic Word of warning whenever you have a novel, based on an american classic and an infamously difficult one at that written by an english professor, you can expect literary symbolism to abound In this case, I think the author gets caught up in her own cleverness she throws everything but the kitchen sink at us Freedom or Liberty seem to be the main theme three women give birth to babies they name Liberty two die in infancy and the last is born into slavery ironic coincidence I think not This theme is explored through the historical issues of the time slavery, religion, womens rights, sex and sexuality, marriage, madness and obsession, isolation and boredom Along the way our main character, disguised as a boy, sails on a whaling ship, is shipwrecked at sea, survives through cannibalism to later become the model of female domesticity as Ahab s wife while interacting with a host of real historical american figures, mostly from the world of literature and transcendentalism Like I said, alot going on and I left quite a bit out For whatever reason, the main character Una,named after Spenser s character in the Fairie Queen the virginal Una representing truth, or the true religion only an english professor could come up with that one held my interest till all but the very end when I just really got tired of all the comings and goings and nonsensical ramblings Like I said, a strong hand with the editing pen would have made this a better read But if you keep that in mind and skim ruthlessly through some of the sillier stuff, it is an engaging adventure tale sort of a female Huck Finn


  3. Marvin Marvin says:

    A stunning, magnificent book Certainly in my top 10 ever great story, great characters, big ideas, colorful writing that, like Jane Smiley s book about Bleeding Kansas, evokes the language of its period while also speaking in a distinctive voice to our own time The narrator is the wife of Ahab, captain of the Pequod of Moby Dick fame It s about several things, but principally about, I think, a woman choosing life choosing her own path in the world and affirming life in the midst of st A stunning, magnificent book Certainly in my top 10 ever great story, great characters, big ideas, colorful writing that, like Jane Smiley s book about Bleeding Kansas, evokes the language of its period while also speaking in a distinctive voice to our own time The narrator is the wife of Ahab, captain of the Pequod of Moby Dick fame It s about several things, but principally about, I think, a woman choosing life choosing her own path in the world and affirming life in the midst of stark suffering It s also about redemption, forgiveness, and acceptance in the face of shocking revelations, or tolerance ofmundane difference But it s a sophisticated notion of tolerance acceptance In one beautiful scene, Una Ahab s wife a liberal or progressive in religious matters, leanrs that her dear friend, the runaway slave Susan, believes that the Lord has led her to freedom At first Una worries that Susan will want to impose her faith, but she wakes the next morning to her accustomed acceptance, which embraces a dwarf slave bounty hunter and a gay neighbor as well The book embraces the ideas of antebellum America includes cameos by several famous people, such as Margaret Fuller Frederick Douglass I ve not been so captivated by the tone, substance, main character of a book since The Fall of the Sparrow


  4. Marin Marin says:

    The first portion of this book was fascinating and well written Naslund s imagining of the details of the ill fated travels of Captain Ahab and his wife are picturesque, with just the right gothic touches thrown in to lend horror where horror should be.I liked the main character and was rooting for her until the return to the States after the grotesque voyage that sent Ahab over the edge.For some reason, Naslund chose to focus on the literati and cognoscenti of the era instead of simply cont The first portion of this book was fascinating and well written Naslund s imagining of the details of the ill fated travels of Captain Ahab and his wife are picturesque, with just the right gothic touches thrown in to lend horror where horror should be.I liked the main character and was rooting for her until the return to the States after the grotesque voyage that sent Ahab over the edge.For some reason, Naslund chose to focus on the literati and cognoscenti of the era instead of simply continuing to present the story of this remarkable woman.The entire last half third of the book is a contrived, name dropping tour of the transcendentalists, statesmen and scientists of the time Ahab s wife is constantly running into them on the road, in the woods, at the gym, in the grocery store OK, I m getting a little snarky, but that s the way it felt to coincidental and too contrived.I kept getting the feeling Naslund had no destination for her character, so she just wandered off through the political and intellectual landscape at the time and hoped readers would be so impressed with the array of local legends they wouldn t notice the complete lack of story and character


  5. Babette Babette says:

    I must thank Louis Bayard for mentioning this book in an interview I might not yet have read it if it weren t for him and I am most appreciative What an amazing book I do feel inclined to return to Moby Dick once , and this time to read it through This book is complete even if Melville s novel never existed But how cleverly Naslund makes connections to Melville s story, without repeating in any way what Melville told.Una is an outstanding character I savored this book because of her I must thank Louis Bayard for mentioning this book in an interview I might not yet have read it if it weren t for him and I am most appreciative What an amazing book I do feel inclined to return to Moby Dick once , and this time to read it through This book is complete even if Melville s novel never existed But how cleverly Naslund makes connections to Melville s story, without repeating in any way what Melville told.Una is an outstanding character I savored this book because of her I would like to know a person like her, to be friends with a person like her.Nasland does a superb job of portraying the times the abolitionist movement and the rumblings of war, the draw of the the frontier, the intellects, scientists and artists of the day, the importance of whaling as an industry, the life of families in a whaling town Naslund uses Una to reflect upon all these as well as individual spiritual and moral questions that are still being debated today.One of Una s friends writes to her And it is the way of women We allow each other our individuality We do not insist that we dominate or control That may have beentrue in the 19th century, but even then there could be found many examples to the contrary.Nature, especially the sea, is a central motif throughout the novel A close friend and neighbor of Una s an artist asked And wherein differ the sea and land He responds to his own rhetoric Consider all this and then turn to this green, gentle, and most docile earth consider them both, the sea and the land and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life..Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return This may be a book a decide to own the copy I read is from the library , if just for the picture on the cover Reflections upon a Wreck at Sconset, Nantucket, Mass by Baldwin Coolidge P.S I am too impulsive I just ordered a copy of a book New England Views The Photography of Baldwin Coolidge This received some excellent reviews and is out of print It is not available from my library, alas.I need to go back to Nantucket, and to Bedford There is so little time, alas.And now for the New York Times book review of October 3, 1999 by Stacey D Erasmo Based on her review below, she is a writer I want to knowof So she goes on my reading list HOW one feels about this book depends on how seriously one takes the pursuit of happiness as opposed to, say, the pursuit of a large white whale In Ahab s Wife, Sena Jeter Naslund has taken less than a paragraph s worth of references to the captain s young wife from Herman Melville s Moby Dick and fashioned from this slender rib not only a woman but an entire world That world is a looking glass version of Melville s fictional seafaring one, ruled by compassion as the other is by obsession, with a heroine who is as much a believer in social justice as the famous hero is in vengeance.Naslund, Ahab like, has taken on an overwhelming quarry in pursuing Melville, but, true to her maternal, liberal philosophy, she does not harpoon the master so much as harness his force to her own That Naslund is unstintingly reasonable, empathetic and kind should not, however, blind one to the fact that she is, in the most nonaggressive way, rewriting American history, revising American literature and critiquing traditional masculinity On the froth and foam and rage of Moby Dick Naslund lays a cool hand, as if to say There, there Such a fuss about a fish Melville probably would have found Naslund s inversion of his work anathema not only did he basically exclude women from the decks of his fiction, he could barely tolerate the thought of them reading his books Of Moby Dick he wrote to a female acquaintance, Don t you buy it don t you read it when it does come out, because it is by no means a sort of book for you In The Feminization of American Culture, Ann Douglas called Moby Dick an implicit critique of liberal Protestantism, its intense masculinity and Calvinist perspective specifically designed to torpedo the popular and sentimental feminine works of the time The book failed it wasn t taken seriously until many years after Melville s death Ironically, Ahab s Wife, which reworks the great whaling novel from a female, liberal, Protestant point of view, is already positioned to be a best seller A Book of the Month Club main selection, with a huge first printing, it may well turn out to be Melville s worst nightmare Moby Dick rewritten by a woman as a conventionally constructed popular novel with an unflaggingly virtuous heroine and a happy ending Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last, begins Naslund s heroine, Una Spenser, as she lies on her back on a Nantucket beach after Ahab s death, watching the clouds go by One of them, she thinks, looks a bit like Ahab s face, a face that she always recalls as mild if somewhat excitable She waves goodbye With one dreamy, casual gesture, Una thus waves aside a century s worth of canonization and goes on to talk about what s really on her mind her mother Over the course of the next 667 pages, Una unscrolls her life story, a long and winding tale in which Ahab is one player among many, and not necessarily the most important one.The woman who was of so little interest to Melville and his creation that they could barely spare her 10 sentences reveals, in her turn, that Ahab constituted a fraction of her own adventures Moreover, the captain was, as she knew him, a pretty decent older guy forward thinking, a proto feminist and good in bed until his violent encounter with the mysterious underwater mammal induced in him a condition that today could probably be solved with a prescription for Viagra Unfortunately, he took another route, and the rest is history.Her history was different In quite beautiful, unobtrusively 19th century style prose, divided into many little Melvillean chapters, Una tells of how her good mother sent her away from her zealously religious, violent father to be reared by liberal lighthouse keepers how, at 16, she left them to run off to sea disguised as a boy named Ulysses how she was shipwrecked and ate human flesh to survive how she loved two men, married one of them, but later lost them both how she married Ahab, had a child with him, but lost both of them as well how she loved again, had another child, whom she named Justice, and became part of a community of freethinkers on Nantucket, where she discovered her truest happiness.Along the way, Naslund thoroughly feminizes the masculine sense of epic, right down to its tropes the mind is a glistening, pink cave the head of a whale surfaces in the water the way the tip of a needle broke through fabric The first time Una sees Ahab, through a spyglass, she says that she inscribed him, in an antique usage of that verb that reverberates with the act of writing itself she writes him, or rewrites him The old sailor, in her reasonable gaze, is just another man in a boat The killing of whales, Naslund makes clear, was a misbegotten enterprise that drove men mad by setting them to dominate a vast Otherness that could not be dominated it was a kind of barbarous war.Ishmael, after he washes up on shore and meets Una at a party, speculates that men who kill whales, the sea s great, oil saturated babies, show that they hate the oceanic mother It s not nice to fool with Mother Nature whale killers, in this novel, come to bad ends Una, by contrast, says of the heartless immensities that we are a part of them, and they are a part of us, and lives happily ever after progressive virtue is rewarded.Naslund, the author of four previous books of fiction, is most successful here sentence to sentence, where her gift for pleasure shines Her Una is a deep and wayward creature, undaunted by convention, whose descriptions are dense with a languid and sensual interest in the world Unlike Ahab, Una can wait She is not driven for her, the world is enough Somewhatproblematic is the extent to which that world is strewn with benevolence toward her Ahab thinks of her as his daughter at a bookstall she bumps into Margaret Fuller, who promptly invites her to her salon a kindly Nantucket townswoman offers to share with Una her collection of porcelain dildos when Ahab is away There are quite a number of Unitarians, and a family of fondue eating pacifists After the departure of the first, cruel father, the book positively abounds in good father figures, including, in a way, Melville himself from his few meager crumbs of concern for what Ahab left behind on land, Naslund has baked an enormous, many layered cake, and fed it all to her protagonist.IN this respect, Ahab s Wife is sometimes reminiscent of a Marge Piercy or Marilyn French novel, circa 1976, minus any anger Una is an innate feminist, but she is inscribed into a landscape that rarely opposes or disappoints her for long Instead, she wins again and again, the narrative kindly correcting every social inequity in her favor, as well as that of other like minded characters In this America, liberals rule On the roiling, dark terrain of Melville s wildness and disintegration, Naslund has erected a glistening pink utopia, every word of which argues by harmonious example, Now, isn t this better And, of course, it is, though when one gets to the scene of aor less uncloseted gay male character teaching newly freed slaves to make pots by the seaside, one might well feel that wish fulfillment has trumped artistic good sense It is certainly no accident that when Una has a daughter, she names the child Felicity The book insists on happiness, sometimes to the exclusion of even the most generous reading of history But why not Men have got rich from their big harpoons and mythic beasts and improbable heroics Don t women deserve their own fantastic voyages


  6. Ashlee Ashlee says:

    I COULD NOT STAND this book it was torture for me to get through There was SO MUCH uneccesary in it it made me not care about ANY of it She touched on just about every issue you can imagine cannibalism, incest, homosexuality,death,insanity,women rights,slavery,religion you name it, it was in here.I was SOOO annoyed with this woman I am convinced she read Moby Dick one night, went to sleep and had one of those crazy meandering dreams where things she saw on the news and famous people I COULD NOT STAND this book it was torture for me to get through There was SO MUCH uneccesary in it it made me not care about ANY of it She touched on just about every issue you can imagine cannibalism, incest, homosexuality,death,insanity,women rights,slavery,religion you name it, it was in here.I was SOOO annoyed with this woman I am convinced she read Moby Dick one night, went to sleep and had one of those crazy meandering dreams where things she saw on the news and famous people from the past drifted in and out and she woke up the next morning and wrote EVERY SILLY DETAIL down and somehow either an editor never actually read it or if one did it was their first book and they were afraid to get the red pen out MAYBE if the 700 pages would heve been cut in half this actually would have been a good story So,my favorite read so far this year Abundance and my least favorite this erratic self serving novel are both by the same author


  7. Suzanna Suzanna says:

    This was not my first read from Naslund, nor will it be my last I loved this book I ll address some of the other readers complaints to start The style of prose is, in my opinion, in keeping with the time period represented There is significant, expressive detail, tons of imagery, so if you find that annoying, this book is not for you You probably will also not like Steinbeck, Dickens, Wharton, Bronte.As far as too much stuff included in the storyline, I would remind those folks that th This was not my first read from Naslund, nor will it be my last I loved this book I ll address some of the other readers complaints to start The style of prose is, in my opinion, in keeping with the time period represented There is significant, expressive detail, tons of imagery, so if you find that annoying, this book is not for you You probably will also not like Steinbeck, Dickens, Wharton, Bronte.As far as too much stuff included in the storyline, I would remind those folks that this is the story of many years in someone s life I felt the various situations and events in the story the religious exploration, homosexuality, etc seemed reasonable within the book s context Those who felt Una s mindset for adventure was inappropriate for the time period might like to explore Transcendentalism , and perhaps read some accounts of women in the Civil War, fighting alongside their husbands, posing as their brothers It might also help to remember that in this time period, artists colonies were thriving And to those who said the book should have ended after Ahab s death, I feel Naslund is merely keeping with the theme she set at the first sentence She says that Ahab wasn t Una s first husband, nor her last She then tells us about the character s life, and includes the mentioned husbands I will also say that everything in this novel was thought through If you like digging and picking things apart, you will love this book I don t do spoilers, but I will tell you that EVERY event in this book, every nuance of it people s names, the colors, the letters in many of the words Naslund has thought it all through If there is a character, or an animal, or anything with any substance mentioned, there is a reason for it If digging around in a book excites you, this is a great choice If that stuff usually flies over your head and you sit wondering why this and why that thinking to yourself, Please just tell me the story Get to the point you aren t going to like this book So summing up, I d say this is a book for those who like wordy, detailed novels with a lot of imagery, and or those who love a layer cake novel Right up my alley


  8. Colleen Colleen says:

    I m an English major who never read Moby Dick, but I did recognize the iconic characters on the periphery of Una s Ahab s wife epic And what a story it is Written in the vernacular of Herman Melville and Ralph Waldo Emerson, I learned much about 19th century Nantucket, whaling, and typical hardships of that time Historic characters believably showed up in this novel, but Una was always central I made a friend in her.


  9. Melki Melki says:

    A Ship is a Breath of RomanceThat Carries Us Miles Away.And a Book is a Ship of FancyThat Could Sail on Any DayThere you have it This is why books are better than ships Well, maybe not this bookAlmost nine months ago, my book club picked this one as the February read, so I had plenty of time to read it And I had the best intentions I ordered a used copy last October, a nice first edition hardback, heavy as any doorstop I glanced at it and put it in my stack Plenty of time to read it, no A Ship is a Breath of RomanceThat Carries Us Miles Away.And a Book is a Ship of FancyThat Could Sail on Any DayThere you have it This is why books are better than ships Well, maybe not this bookAlmost nine months ago, my book club picked this one as the February read, so I had plenty of time to read it And I had the best intentions I ordered a used copy last October, a nice first edition hardback, heavy as any doorstop I glanced at it and put it in my stack Plenty of time to read it, no hurry Other books got piled on top, and well, you know how it is I thought about starting it a few times Somehow, it s like I knew it was going to be a Meh read for me Finally, a scant nine days before the club meeting, I started reading.There s a WHAM BANG beginning, with a riveting birth scene attended by a runaway slave Then we hop back in time til when young Una , after being threatened physically by her maniacally religious father, is sent to live in a lighthouse with her aunt, uncle and lovable young cousin One day, two potential love interests arrive to install a newfangled Fresnel lens Hmm.will she choose the chatty one who seems smitten with her, or the dark, brooding mysterious one And then, after something bad happens, she cuts her hair and signs aboard a whaling ship as a cabin boy I swear, I could almost hear Streisand singing Papa, Can You Hear Me What follows are pages and pages of blood, guts, blubber, tragedy, disaster and death Una and one of her beaus end up on the Pequod, where there isblood and blubber, and now some madness thrown into the mix, as well Rather disturbingly, I thought, Una, still in her teens, ends up married to Ahab, a man in his fifties More bad stuff happens, with a brief time out for tea parties, and some china and linen shopping.Then the book kind of descends into a Forrest Gumpian fantasy where if anyone important was alive at the time and hanging about Nantucket, Una manages to meet them I m surprised to find she didn t somehow serve as the model for the Statue of Liberty I didn t HATE this book, and it is NOT terrible Much of it was well written, and I really enjoyed a few of the MANY storylines The women in my book club loved it enough to pick it a SECOND time, even though most of them had already read and discussed it in 2001.I just couldn t help wishing that Una had said, Screw you, Ahab, you old fart and taken off with the runaway slave instead Oh, and she should have definitely had a roll in the hay with the dwarf bounty hunter


  10. Triffany Triffany says:

    When I started reading this book, I was thinking, How could anyone give this any fewer than 4 to 5 stars The writing was so beautiful and the world through the main character s eyes, although difficult, was beautiful and new and she was chameleon esque changing and adapting to every day that she faced.I was fascinated through most of it, wondering at how a person even a fictional one could continue to live life so far removed from her self her ego She truly discovered the land, the l When I started reading this book, I was thinking, How could anyone give this any fewer than 4 to 5 stars The writing was so beautiful and the world through the main character s eyes, although difficult, was beautiful and new and she was chameleon esque changing and adapting to every day that she faced.I was fascinated through most of it, wondering at how a person even a fictional one could continue to live life so far removed from her self her ego She truly discovered the land, the landmarks and the people around her in a way that is usually reserved for the eyes and minds of small children.And then the lastoh quarter of the book, I was reminded that this was not a real person and certainly the book really the author was not immune to the over descriptive, Steinbeck y, drivel.Overall, it is still an enjoyable tale with some opportunity for ideological discovery and self reflection, but if I ever read it again I will stop reading it after Cpt Ahab dies I trust that does not ruin any plot points as this is the same Cpt Ahab in Moby Dick therefore, his demise should be of little or no surprise to most


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Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer❴Read❵ ➱ Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer Author Sena Jeter Naslund – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk 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 A magnificent, vast, and enthralling or The eBook ✓ saga, Sena Jeter Naslund s Ahab s Wife is a remarkable epic spanning a rich, eventful, and dramatic life Inspired by Ahab's Wife, MOBI :Þ 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 Wife, or The ePUB ´ abuse of a religion mad father It is the romantic adventure of a young woman setting sail in a cabin boy s disguise to encounter darkness, wonder, and catastrophe the story of a devoted wife who witnesses her husband s destruction by obsession and madness Ultimately it is the powerful and moving story of a woman s triumph over tragedy and loss through her courage, creativity, and intelligence.


About the Author: Sena Jeter Naslund

Sena Jeter Naslund is the or The eBook ✓ New York Times best selling author of five novels, including Ahab s Wife and Abundance A Novel of Marie Antoinette Ahab's Wife, MOBI :Þ HarperCollins, She is currently Distinguished Teaching Professor and Writer in Residence at the University of Louisville and program director of the Spalding University brief residency Master Wife, or The ePUB ´ in Fine Arts in Writing Recipient of the Harper Lee Award and the Southeastern Library Association Fiction Award, she is co founder of The Louisville Review and the Fleur de Lis Press She lives in Louisville, Kentucky.


10 thoughts on “Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer

  1. Emily Emily says:

    Ick I hated this book I felt that the author was basically living out her own fantasy of being adored by these historical and fictional men I mean, she even finds a way to work in Hawthrone and Emerson having a crush on her It s the kind of book where the heroine stands on the deck of ships or ports, or lighthouses with her hair blowing in the wind a lot All men want her She survives great hardship with her noble spirit intact And she has an intelligent, sensitive soul that is eventuall Ick I hated this book I felt that the author was basically living out her own fantasy of being adored by these historical and fictional men I mean, she even finds a way to work in Hawthrone and Emerson having a crush on her It s the kind of book where the heroine stands on the deck of ships or ports, or lighthouses with her hair blowing in the wind a lot All men want her She survives great hardship with her noble spirit intact And she has an intelligent, sensitive soul that is eventually recognized by the greatest minds of her generation Historical fiction or historical masturbation

  2. Mary Mary says:

    Whoa finally finished this baby Reading this is quite an investment in time at least 1000 words could easily be sliced out to create acoherent epic Word of warning whenever you have a novel, based on an american classic and an infamously difficult one at that written by an english professor, you can expect literary symbolism to abound In this case, I think the author gets caught up in her own cleverness she throws everything but the kitchen sink at us Freedom or Liberty seem to Whoa finally finished this baby Reading this is quite an investment in time at least 1000 words could easily be sliced out to create acoherent epic Word of warning whenever you have a novel, based on an american classic and an infamously difficult one at that written by an english professor, you can expect literary symbolism to abound In this case, I think the author gets caught up in her own cleverness she throws everything but the kitchen sink at us Freedom or Liberty seem to be the main theme three women give birth to babies they name Liberty two die in infancy and the last is born into slavery ironic coincidence I think not This theme is explored through the historical issues of the time slavery, religion, womens rights, sex and sexuality, marriage, madness and obsession, isolation and boredom Along the way our main character, disguised as a boy, sails on a whaling ship, is shipwrecked at sea, survives through cannibalism to later become the model of female domesticity as Ahab s wife while interacting with a host of real historical american figures, mostly from the world of literature and transcendentalism Like I said, alot going on and I left quite a bit out For whatever reason, the main character Una,named after Spenser s character in the Fairie Queen the virginal Una representing truth, or the true religion only an english professor could come up with that one held my interest till all but the very end when I just really got tired of all the comings and goings and nonsensical ramblings Like I said, a strong hand with the editing pen would have made this a better read But if you keep that in mind and skim ruthlessly through some of the sillier stuff, it is an engaging adventure tale sort of a female Huck Finn

  3. Marvin Marvin says:

    A stunning, magnificent book Certainly in my top 10 ever great story, great characters, big ideas, colorful writing that, like Jane Smiley s book about Bleeding Kansas, evokes the language of its period while also speaking in a distinctive voice to our own time The narrator is the wife of Ahab, captain of the Pequod of Moby Dick fame It s about several things, but principally about, I think, a woman choosing life choosing her own path in the world and affirming life in the midst of st A stunning, magnificent book Certainly in my top 10 ever great story, great characters, big ideas, colorful writing that, like Jane Smiley s book about Bleeding Kansas, evokes the language of its period while also speaking in a distinctive voice to our own time The narrator is the wife of Ahab, captain of the Pequod of Moby Dick fame It s about several things, but principally about, I think, a woman choosing life choosing her own path in the world and affirming life in the midst of stark suffering It s also about redemption, forgiveness, and acceptance in the face of shocking revelations, or tolerance ofmundane difference But it s a sophisticated notion of tolerance acceptance In one beautiful scene, Una Ahab s wife a liberal or progressive in religious matters, leanrs that her dear friend, the runaway slave Susan, believes that the Lord has led her to freedom At first Una worries that Susan will want to impose her faith, but she wakes the next morning to her accustomed acceptance, which embraces a dwarf slave bounty hunter and a gay neighbor as well The book embraces the ideas of antebellum America includes cameos by several famous people, such as Margaret Fuller Frederick Douglass I ve not been so captivated by the tone, substance, main character of a book since The Fall of the Sparrow

  4. Marin Marin says:

    The first portion of this book was fascinating and well written Naslund s imagining of the details of the ill fated travels of Captain Ahab and his wife are picturesque, with just the right gothic touches thrown in to lend horror where horror should be.I liked the main character and was rooting for her until the return to the States after the grotesque voyage that sent Ahab over the edge.For some reason, Naslund chose to focus on the literati and cognoscenti of the era instead of simply cont The first portion of this book was fascinating and well written Naslund s imagining of the details of the ill fated travels of Captain Ahab and his wife are picturesque, with just the right gothic touches thrown in to lend horror where horror should be.I liked the main character and was rooting for her until the return to the States after the grotesque voyage that sent Ahab over the edge.For some reason, Naslund chose to focus on the literati and cognoscenti of the era instead of simply continuing to present the story of this remarkable woman.The entire last half third of the book is a contrived, name dropping tour of the transcendentalists, statesmen and scientists of the time Ahab s wife is constantly running into them on the road, in the woods, at the gym, in the grocery store OK, I m getting a little snarky, but that s the way it felt to coincidental and too contrived.I kept getting the feeling Naslund had no destination for her character, so she just wandered off through the political and intellectual landscape at the time and hoped readers would be so impressed with the array of local legends they wouldn t notice the complete lack of story and character

  5. Babette Babette says:

    I must thank Louis Bayard for mentioning this book in an interview I might not yet have read it if it weren t for him and I am most appreciative What an amazing book I do feel inclined to return to Moby Dick once , and this time to read it through This book is complete even if Melville s novel never existed But how cleverly Naslund makes connections to Melville s story, without repeating in any way what Melville told.Una is an outstanding character I savored this book because of her I must thank Louis Bayard for mentioning this book in an interview I might not yet have read it if it weren t for him and I am most appreciative What an amazing book I do feel inclined to return to Moby Dick once , and this time to read it through This book is complete even if Melville s novel never existed But how cleverly Naslund makes connections to Melville s story, without repeating in any way what Melville told.Una is an outstanding character I savored this book because of her I would like to know a person like her, to be friends with a person like her.Nasland does a superb job of portraying the times the abolitionist movement and the rumblings of war, the draw of the the frontier, the intellects, scientists and artists of the day, the importance of whaling as an industry, the life of families in a whaling town Naslund uses Una to reflect upon all these as well as individual spiritual and moral questions that are still being debated today.One of Una s friends writes to her And it is the way of women We allow each other our individuality We do not insist that we dominate or control That may have beentrue in the 19th century, but even then there could be found many examples to the contrary.Nature, especially the sea, is a central motif throughout the novel A close friend and neighbor of Una s an artist asked And wherein differ the sea and land He responds to his own rhetoric Consider all this and then turn to this green, gentle, and most docile earth consider them both, the sea and the land and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life..Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return This may be a book a decide to own the copy I read is from the library , if just for the picture on the cover Reflections upon a Wreck at Sconset, Nantucket, Mass by Baldwin Coolidge P.S I am too impulsive I just ordered a copy of a book New England Views The Photography of Baldwin Coolidge This received some excellent reviews and is out of print It is not available from my library, alas.I need to go back to Nantucket, and to Bedford There is so little time, alas.And now for the New York Times book review of October 3, 1999 by Stacey D Erasmo Based on her review below, she is a writer I want to knowof So she goes on my reading list HOW one feels about this book depends on how seriously one takes the pursuit of happiness as opposed to, say, the pursuit of a large white whale In Ahab s Wife, Sena Jeter Naslund has taken less than a paragraph s worth of references to the captain s young wife from Herman Melville s Moby Dick and fashioned from this slender rib not only a woman but an entire world That world is a looking glass version of Melville s fictional seafaring one, ruled by compassion as the other is by obsession, with a heroine who is as much a believer in social justice as the famous hero is in vengeance.Naslund, Ahab like, has taken on an overwhelming quarry in pursuing Melville, but, true to her maternal, liberal philosophy, she does not harpoon the master so much as harness his force to her own That Naslund is unstintingly reasonable, empathetic and kind should not, however, blind one to the fact that she is, in the most nonaggressive way, rewriting American history, revising American literature and critiquing traditional masculinity On the froth and foam and rage of Moby Dick Naslund lays a cool hand, as if to say There, there Such a fuss about a fish Melville probably would have found Naslund s inversion of his work anathema not only did he basically exclude women from the decks of his fiction, he could barely tolerate the thought of them reading his books Of Moby Dick he wrote to a female acquaintance, Don t you buy it don t you read it when it does come out, because it is by no means a sort of book for you In The Feminization of American Culture, Ann Douglas called Moby Dick an implicit critique of liberal Protestantism, its intense masculinity and Calvinist perspective specifically designed to torpedo the popular and sentimental feminine works of the time The book failed it wasn t taken seriously until many years after Melville s death Ironically, Ahab s Wife, which reworks the great whaling novel from a female, liberal, Protestant point of view, is already positioned to be a best seller A Book of the Month Club main selection, with a huge first printing, it may well turn out to be Melville s worst nightmare Moby Dick rewritten by a woman as a conventionally constructed popular novel with an unflaggingly virtuous heroine and a happy ending Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last, begins Naslund s heroine, Una Spenser, as she lies on her back on a Nantucket beach after Ahab s death, watching the clouds go by One of them, she thinks, looks a bit like Ahab s face, a face that she always recalls as mild if somewhat excitable She waves goodbye With one dreamy, casual gesture, Una thus waves aside a century s worth of canonization and goes on to talk about what s really on her mind her mother Over the course of the next 667 pages, Una unscrolls her life story, a long and winding tale in which Ahab is one player among many, and not necessarily the most important one.The woman who was of so little interest to Melville and his creation that they could barely spare her 10 sentences reveals, in her turn, that Ahab constituted a fraction of her own adventures Moreover, the captain was, as she knew him, a pretty decent older guy forward thinking, a proto feminist and good in bed until his violent encounter with the mysterious underwater mammal induced in him a condition that today could probably be solved with a prescription for Viagra Unfortunately, he took another route, and the rest is history.Her history was different In quite beautiful, unobtrusively 19th century style prose, divided into many little Melvillean chapters, Una tells of how her good mother sent her away from her zealously religious, violent father to be reared by liberal lighthouse keepers how, at 16, she left them to run off to sea disguised as a boy named Ulysses how she was shipwrecked and ate human flesh to survive how she loved two men, married one of them, but later lost them both how she married Ahab, had a child with him, but lost both of them as well how she loved again, had another child, whom she named Justice, and became part of a community of freethinkers on Nantucket, where she discovered her truest happiness.Along the way, Naslund thoroughly feminizes the masculine sense of epic, right down to its tropes the mind is a glistening, pink cave the head of a whale surfaces in the water the way the tip of a needle broke through fabric The first time Una sees Ahab, through a spyglass, she says that she inscribed him, in an antique usage of that verb that reverberates with the act of writing itself she writes him, or rewrites him The old sailor, in her reasonable gaze, is just another man in a boat The killing of whales, Naslund makes clear, was a misbegotten enterprise that drove men mad by setting them to dominate a vast Otherness that could not be dominated it was a kind of barbarous war.Ishmael, after he washes up on shore and meets Una at a party, speculates that men who kill whales, the sea s great, oil saturated babies, show that they hate the oceanic mother It s not nice to fool with Mother Nature whale killers, in this novel, come to bad ends Una, by contrast, says of the heartless immensities that we are a part of them, and they are a part of us, and lives happily ever after progressive virtue is rewarded.Naslund, the author of four previous books of fiction, is most successful here sentence to sentence, where her gift for pleasure shines Her Una is a deep and wayward creature, undaunted by convention, whose descriptions are dense with a languid and sensual interest in the world Unlike Ahab, Una can wait She is not driven for her, the world is enough Somewhatproblematic is the extent to which that world is strewn with benevolence toward her Ahab thinks of her as his daughter at a bookstall she bumps into Margaret Fuller, who promptly invites her to her salon a kindly Nantucket townswoman offers to share with Una her collection of porcelain dildos when Ahab is away There are quite a number of Unitarians, and a family of fondue eating pacifists After the departure of the first, cruel father, the book positively abounds in good father figures, including, in a way, Melville himself from his few meager crumbs of concern for what Ahab left behind on land, Naslund has baked an enormous, many layered cake, and fed it all to her protagonist.IN this respect, Ahab s Wife is sometimes reminiscent of a Marge Piercy or Marilyn French novel, circa 1976, minus any anger Una is an innate feminist, but she is inscribed into a landscape that rarely opposes or disappoints her for long Instead, she wins again and again, the narrative kindly correcting every social inequity in her favor, as well as that of other like minded characters In this America, liberals rule On the roiling, dark terrain of Melville s wildness and disintegration, Naslund has erected a glistening pink utopia, every word of which argues by harmonious example, Now, isn t this better And, of course, it is, though when one gets to the scene of aor less uncloseted gay male character teaching newly freed slaves to make pots by the seaside, one might well feel that wish fulfillment has trumped artistic good sense It is certainly no accident that when Una has a daughter, she names the child Felicity The book insists on happiness, sometimes to the exclusion of even the most generous reading of history But why not Men have got rich from their big harpoons and mythic beasts and improbable heroics Don t women deserve their own fantastic voyages

  6. Ashlee Ashlee says:

    I COULD NOT STAND this book it was torture for me to get through There was SO MUCH uneccesary in it it made me not care about ANY of it She touched on just about every issue you can imagine cannibalism, incest, homosexuality,death,insanity,women rights,slavery,religion you name it, it was in here.I was SOOO annoyed with this woman I am convinced she read Moby Dick one night, went to sleep and had one of those crazy meandering dreams where things she saw on the news and famous people I COULD NOT STAND this book it was torture for me to get through There was SO MUCH uneccesary in it it made me not care about ANY of it She touched on just about every issue you can imagine cannibalism, incest, homosexuality,death,insanity,women rights,slavery,religion you name it, it was in here.I was SOOO annoyed with this woman I am convinced she read Moby Dick one night, went to sleep and had one of those crazy meandering dreams where things she saw on the news and famous people from the past drifted in and out and she woke up the next morning and wrote EVERY SILLY DETAIL down and somehow either an editor never actually read it or if one did it was their first book and they were afraid to get the red pen out MAYBE if the 700 pages would heve been cut in half this actually would have been a good story So,my favorite read so far this year Abundance and my least favorite this erratic self serving novel are both by the same author

  7. Suzanna Suzanna says:

    This was not my first read from Naslund, nor will it be my last I loved this book I ll address some of the other readers complaints to start The style of prose is, in my opinion, in keeping with the time period represented There is significant, expressive detail, tons of imagery, so if you find that annoying, this book is not for you You probably will also not like Steinbeck, Dickens, Wharton, Bronte.As far as too much stuff included in the storyline, I would remind those folks that th This was not my first read from Naslund, nor will it be my last I loved this book I ll address some of the other readers complaints to start The style of prose is, in my opinion, in keeping with the time period represented There is significant, expressive detail, tons of imagery, so if you find that annoying, this book is not for you You probably will also not like Steinbeck, Dickens, Wharton, Bronte.As far as too much stuff included in the storyline, I would remind those folks that this is the story of many years in someone s life I felt the various situations and events in the story the religious exploration, homosexuality, etc seemed reasonable within the book s context Those who felt Una s mindset for adventure was inappropriate for the time period might like to explore Transcendentalism , and perhaps read some accounts of women in the Civil War, fighting alongside their husbands, posing as their brothers It might also help to remember that in this time period, artists colonies were thriving And to those who said the book should have ended after Ahab s death, I feel Naslund is merely keeping with the theme she set at the first sentence She says that Ahab wasn t Una s first husband, nor her last She then tells us about the character s life, and includes the mentioned husbands I will also say that everything in this novel was thought through If you like digging and picking things apart, you will love this book I don t do spoilers, but I will tell you that EVERY event in this book, every nuance of it people s names, the colors, the letters in many of the words Naslund has thought it all through If there is a character, or an animal, or anything with any substance mentioned, there is a reason for it If digging around in a book excites you, this is a great choice If that stuff usually flies over your head and you sit wondering why this and why that thinking to yourself, Please just tell me the story Get to the point you aren t going to like this book So summing up, I d say this is a book for those who like wordy, detailed novels with a lot of imagery, and or those who love a layer cake novel Right up my alley

  8. Colleen Colleen says:

    I m an English major who never read Moby Dick, but I did recognize the iconic characters on the periphery of Una s Ahab s wife epic And what a story it is Written in the vernacular of Herman Melville and Ralph Waldo Emerson, I learned much about 19th century Nantucket, whaling, and typical hardships of that time Historic characters believably showed up in this novel, but Una was always central I made a friend in her.

  9. Melki Melki says:

    A Ship is a Breath of RomanceThat Carries Us Miles Away.And a Book is a Ship of FancyThat Could Sail on Any DayThere you have it This is why books are better than ships Well, maybe not this bookAlmost nine months ago, my book club picked this one as the February read, so I had plenty of time to read it And I had the best intentions I ordered a used copy last October, a nice first edition hardback, heavy as any doorstop I glanced at it and put it in my stack Plenty of time to read it, no A Ship is a Breath of RomanceThat Carries Us Miles Away.And a Book is a Ship of FancyThat Could Sail on Any DayThere you have it This is why books are better than ships Well, maybe not this bookAlmost nine months ago, my book club picked this one as the February read, so I had plenty of time to read it And I had the best intentions I ordered a used copy last October, a nice first edition hardback, heavy as any doorstop I glanced at it and put it in my stack Plenty of time to read it, no hurry Other books got piled on top, and well, you know how it is I thought about starting it a few times Somehow, it s like I knew it was going to be a Meh read for me Finally, a scant nine days before the club meeting, I started reading.There s a WHAM BANG beginning, with a riveting birth scene attended by a runaway slave Then we hop back in time til when young Una , after being threatened physically by her maniacally religious father, is sent to live in a lighthouse with her aunt, uncle and lovable young cousin One day, two potential love interests arrive to install a newfangled Fresnel lens Hmm.will she choose the chatty one who seems smitten with her, or the dark, brooding mysterious one And then, after something bad happens, she cuts her hair and signs aboard a whaling ship as a cabin boy I swear, I could almost hear Streisand singing Papa, Can You Hear Me What follows are pages and pages of blood, guts, blubber, tragedy, disaster and death Una and one of her beaus end up on the Pequod, where there isblood and blubber, and now some madness thrown into the mix, as well Rather disturbingly, I thought, Una, still in her teens, ends up married to Ahab, a man in his fifties More bad stuff happens, with a brief time out for tea parties, and some china and linen shopping.Then the book kind of descends into a Forrest Gumpian fantasy where if anyone important was alive at the time and hanging about Nantucket, Una manages to meet them I m surprised to find she didn t somehow serve as the model for the Statue of Liberty I didn t HATE this book, and it is NOT terrible Much of it was well written, and I really enjoyed a few of the MANY storylines The women in my book club loved it enough to pick it a SECOND time, even though most of them had already read and discussed it in 2001.I just couldn t help wishing that Una had said, Screw you, Ahab, you old fart and taken off with the runaway slave instead Oh, and she should have definitely had a roll in the hay with the dwarf bounty hunter

  10. Triffany Triffany says:

    When I started reading this book, I was thinking, How could anyone give this any fewer than 4 to 5 stars The writing was so beautiful and the world through the main character s eyes, although difficult, was beautiful and new and she was chameleon esque changing and adapting to every day that she faced.I was fascinated through most of it, wondering at how a person even a fictional one could continue to live life so far removed from her self her ego She truly discovered the land, the l When I started reading this book, I was thinking, How could anyone give this any fewer than 4 to 5 stars The writing was so beautiful and the world through the main character s eyes, although difficult, was beautiful and new and she was chameleon esque changing and adapting to every day that she faced.I was fascinated through most of it, wondering at how a person even a fictional one could continue to live life so far removed from her self her ego She truly discovered the land, the landmarks and the people around her in a way that is usually reserved for the eyes and minds of small children.And then the lastoh quarter of the book, I was reminded that this was not a real person and certainly the book really the author was not immune to the over descriptive, Steinbeck y, drivel.Overall, it is still an enjoyable tale with some opportunity for ideological discovery and self reflection, but if I ever read it again I will stop reading it after Cpt Ahab dies I trust that does not ruin any plot points as this is the same Cpt Ahab in Moby Dick therefore, his demise should be of little or no surprise to most

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