Ahab's Wife

Ahab's Wife

by Sena Jeter Naslund

Ricki Brodie (05/10/13): "Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last," states Una Spenser, named after Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene. The literary references abound. Netherland's author has a young Una fleeing a puritanical, fanatic father to relatives living in a lighthouse. We follow Una from there to posing as a boy on a whaler that is sunk by a whale, to a harrowing trip in a lifeboat, to being married but not to Captain Ahab. Through a variety of trials and tribulations Ahab and Una come together, wed, have a child and watch Ahab leave to find Moby Dick.

Una, a free thinker and feminist shows us a fighting spirit and resilience in shaping the woman she is. Along the way she befriends a dwarf bounty hunter, writer Margaret Fuller, an astronomer Maria Mitchell, Nathaniel Hawthorne. The epic is packed with numerous literary references. The 700 page book is not for someone looking for a quick read. But, if you want to take a journey back in time with a forward thinking woman you won't be disappointed.
Rating: ****

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