Author: Amity Gaige
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Book Description: Juliet is failing to juggle motherhood and her stalled-out dissertation on confessional poetry when her husband, Michael, informs her that he wants to leave his job and buy a sailboat. With their two kids—Sybil, age seven, and George, age two—Juliet and Michael set off for Panama, where their forty-four foot sailboat awaits them.
The initial result is transformative; the marriage is given a gust of energy, Juliet emerges from her depression, and the children quickly embrace the joys of being feral children at sea. Despite the stresses of being novice sailors, the family learns to crew the boat together on the ever-changing sea. The vast horizons and isolated islands offer Juliet and Michael reprieve – until they are tested by the unforeseen.
Sea Wife is told in gripping dual perspectives: Juliet’s first person narration, after the journey, as she struggles to come to terms with the life-changing events that unfolded at sea, and Michael’s captain’s log, which provides a riveting, slow-motion account of these same inexorable events, a dialogue that reveals the fault lines created by personal history and political divisions.
Sea Wife is a transporting novel about marriage, family and love in a time of unprecedented turmoil. It is unforgettable in its power and astonishingly perceptive in its portrayal of optimism, disillusionment, and survival.
Rating: 4 stars
Review: Sea Wife is a novel that centers around the theme of journeys in multiple ways. It is well written and at times this book is gut wrenching. This is the story of a couple told in a unique structure.
Juliet has made the decision to travel with her husband and two kids for a year on a boat, maybe against her better judgement. Juliet and Michael’s marriage is not perfect and this will test them to the highest level. At first Juliet and Michael start this journey on such a positive note, it seems this is the right decision. But as we all know not everything is what it seems.
The book is narrated by Juliet and alternated with snippets of Michael’s captain log. You will get two totally different views of this relationship and the inner workings of this relationship. We understand early on that a tragedy occurred on this trip, and there is a a small mystery that gets tacked in.
Amity Gaige wrote a very thoughtful introspective book. She took great care to give these characters their own voices. Sea Wife was extremely propulsive and I did not want to put this down. This is for fans of Literary Fiction. It might feel claustrophobic stuck on this boat, but Amity tell this story in way that feels vast at times. Excellent read.
Thank you NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.