Monday, March 15, 2010

Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund

If you want to read a story about Captain Ahab, read Moby Dick. The Role he plays in this novel is a small one. Una starts her narrative "Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last," and from there goes on with the story of her life, which unsurprisingly has little of Captain Ahab in it. Often out of order, a little disjointed, but always poignant and vivid, Una's story of whaling, shipwreck, love, death and deceit does not disappoint. The writing is so rich, you want to hold it in both hands and take a delicious meaty bite. This is the double cheeseburger of literature. Yes it is 700 pages long, but not one word is wasted!
Whoosh, got a little carried away there. I loved this book. And if you are a serious reader, you will too. Be forewarned! This book cannot be taken lightly. It cannot be read in one day (maybe two, if you don't have kids!) and it cannot be plowed through. Rather than a "good read," reading Ahab's Wife is much like discovering a new friend, who then becomes a good friend, and then an old friend.

And much like an old friend, this book will leave you feeling happier, sadder and wiser.
5 stars.

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