Sea Wife: A novel

Written by:
Amity Gaige

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
April 2020
9 hours 45 minutes
A New York Times Notable Book

'Sea Wife is a gripping tale of survival at sea—but that’s just the beginning.  Amity Gaige also manages, before she’s done, to probe the underpinnings of romantic love, marriage, literary ambition, political inclinations in the Trump age, parenthood, and finally, the nature of survival itself in our broken world.  Gaige is thrillingly talented, and her novel enchants.'
—Jennifer Egan

“Sea Wife brilliantly breathes life not only into the perils of living at sea, but also into the fraught and hidden dangers of domesticity, motherhood, and marriage. What a smart, swift, and thrilling novel.”
—Lauren Groff

From the highly acclaimed author of Schroder, a smart, sophisticated page literary page-turner about a young family who escape suburbia for a yearlong sailing trip that upends all of their lives.

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.
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Janet G.

Really enjoyed this book until the last 30 to 40 minutes. Didn’t get this last portion at all.

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Becky H.

Good story premise but didn’t “get” all that was said after the story was really over. Tedious.

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A little bit slow in parts where you are wondering what the point is but then it all comes together. I think a few chapters with the sailing details could have been replaced by ones that gave a bit more of a look at the relationship between the married couple before getting on the boat. It is definitely a depressing look at a marriage where two people don’t really know or get each other. I didn’t like either character but I felt bad for both of them - they were so lonely.

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