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Una, named for the heroine of Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene, flees to the New England coast from Kentucky to escape her father's puritanism and to pursue a more exalted life. She gets whaling out of her system early: going to sea at 16 disguised as a boy, Una has her ship sunk by her own monstrous whale, and survives a harrowing shipwreck:
I was so horrified by the whale's deliberate charge that I could not move. Then my own name flew up from below like a spear: "Una!" Giles' voice broke my trance, and I scrambled down the rigging. No sooner did my foot touch the deck than there was such a lurch that I fell to my face. I heard and felt the boards break below the waterline, the copper sheathing nothing but decorative foil. The whole ship shuddered. A death throe.The ship dies, but Una returns to land to pursue the life of the mind. The novel's opening line--"Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last"--also diminishes Melville's hero in the broader scheme of things. Naslund exposes the reader to the unsung, real-life heroes of Melville's world, including Margaret Fuller and her Boston salon, and Nantucket astronomer Maria Mitchell. There is a chance meeting with a veiled Nathaniel Hawthorne in the woods, and throughout the novel the story brims with references to the giants of literature: Shakespeare, Goethe, Coleridge, Keats, and Wordsworth. Although her novel runs long at nearly 700 pages, Naslund has created an imaginative, entertaining, and very impressive work. --Ted Leventhal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I am trying to find as captivating a novel as Ahab's Wife, so far not much success. There are some out there but not with the staying power. Read morePublished 3 days ago by abcnest
I loved Ahab's Wife. Didn't realize it was written in 1999, it seems like it was just written. This is a book about the fictional wife of Ahab in the book, Moby Dick. Nice twist. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Betsy Robertson
I love this book for the strong women, the weaving in of historic figures , and the tie-in to Moby Dick. Very creative. It definitely makes me want to visit Nantucket.Published 12 days ago by JJM
Beautifully written. Makes you want to re-reading Dick with new eyes.Published 16 days ago by Roberta R. Gardner
It was a wonderfully written book. Made me feel as if I were there. The author certainly knew about and explained every detail as if it were her story. Great read.Published 16 days ago by Lucy Garcia
The writing is really good- one of those things where you can tell a lot of thought went into the placement of each word. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Elizabeth
It brought a fine story, of fascinating characters, full circle.
Gratifying, the story of a free thinking young woman, who could not be influenced into doing as others willed. Read more