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Ahabs Wife or the Stargazer a Novel PS by Sena Jeter Naslund - A Chocolate Cake of a Bookpdf

Ahabs Wife or the Stargazer a Novel PS by Sena Jeter Naslund - A Chocolate Cake of a Bookpdf

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Published by: sammyf761 on Sep 16, 2011
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Ahabs Wife: Or, The Star-gazer: A Novel (P.S.

) by Sena Jeter Naslund

A Chocolate Cake Of A Book

It has been said that one can see farther only by standing on the shoulders of giants. Ahabs Wife, Sena Naslunds epic work of historical fiction, honors that aphorism, using Herman Melvilles Moby -Dick as looking glass into early-19th-century America. Through the eye of an outsider, a woman, she suggests that New England life was broader and richer than Melvilles manly world of men, ships, and whales. This ambitious novel pays tribute to Melville, creating heroines from his lesser characters, and to Americas literary heritage in general. Una, named for the heroine of Edmund Spensers Faerie Queene, flees to the New England coast from Kentucky to escape her fathers 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 whales 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 novels opening line--Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last-also diminishes Melvilles hero in the broader scheme of things. Naslund exposes the reader to the unsung, real-life heroes of Melvilles 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 Features:

* Click here to view our Condition Guide and Shipping Prices This novel is exceptionally crafted with powerful and unforgettable characters, wonderful prose, and an epic story. Focusing on the life of Una Spenser, the author does a wonderful job of bringing her protagonist to life. Una is a completely three dimensional character- embodying realistic motivations, intelligent thoughts, well developed emotions, and character strengths and weaknesses. She is a wonderfully developed protagonist, that carries the story through pure power of character. She is unique and admirable and maintains her sanity and sense of self despite the events and actions that unfold. Other characters are similarly well developed but fall victim to events at sea, like her companions Giles and Kit, and of course Captain Ahab. It is intrigueing to watch the fall of these characters through the eyes of Una, who compells the readers sympathy without demanding that they experience the fall first hand. The prose is perfectly crafted for this story. It conveys the 19th century with its poetry and description, and is wonderfully concise so that every word has meaning for the story. Finally, the story itself is enjoyable. It is continually ebbing and flowing, and the author does a wonderful job of carrying Una through multiple ups and downs, action and inaction in such a way that it is easy to identify the characters love of the sea in the way she narrates her story. While the novel is lengthy, it does not seem long or boring as each large part of the story flows seemlessly into another through charcter letters and narration. It is a great book, and I look forward to finding another as good.

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