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Ahab's Wife

The Star-Gazer
Narrated by: Maryann Plunkett
Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
3.5 out of 5 stars (187 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last. This is destined to be remembered as one of the most-recognized first sentences in literature - along with "Call me Ishmael." And Una Spenser, the transcendent hero at the center of Ahab's Wife may well become every bit as memorable as Ahab. Inspired by a brief passage in Moby Dick, Sena Jeter Naslund has created an entirely new universe - an epic-scale, enthralling, and compelling saga, spanning a full, rich, eventful, and dramatic life. In the "soprano voice" whose absence critics lamented in Moby Dick - the strong, intelligent voice of a woman whose life is dominated by the sea - Naslund tells many stories.
©1999 Sena Jeter Naslund, All Rights Reserved (P)1999 Simon & Schuster, Inc., All Rights Reserved, AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Critic Reviews

"Ahab's Wife is an epic tour de force, and deserves its rightful place next to Melville's classic...This is a great American novel." (Brett Lott, author of Jewel)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not

I listened to the first hour of this abridgement and then compared it to the text, and concluded that I would be better off re-reading the enormous novel instead (for my book club).

While the abridgement seemed like a decent effort to capture the highlights, and the narration was pleasant, the incredible artistry of this novel's language is largely lost in the process of shortening the lengthy descriptions. You also miss out on the sense of being enveloped in the characters' lives and thoughts. (I think a screenplay writer would have the same problem...I'd rather see it done as a ten hour miniseries.)

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Abridged version but good narrator

Most reviews point out the abridged version as a negative, but that's what we bought. Ahab's Wife is one of my favorite books. Beautifully written, it would take over 40 hours of narrating to read in its entirety. I'm holding out that someone will release it for us. This abridged version works in the meantime. You miss out on most of the character development in this version but you get the high points is the story. Read the unabridged version when you get a chance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Moby Dick move over, here comes Una

Ahab's wife gives a different dimension to the infamous Captain. Told through the eyes of ( ? can you guess ? ) his wife who's life's story is noteworthy in it's own right. Adventurous, sometimes thought provoking and fanciful.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A lot missing in the abridged version

The writing is elegant. The performance was complement to the writing. Sadly the the abridged version cuts out many meaningful passages.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful epic

I heard the unabridged version of this novel and loved it. The writing was beautiful and the story captivated me. I don't know how the abridged version compares--I don't buy them.

13 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Nice fictional history

Nice fictional history. Easy to become swept away in the story.
The narrator could have brushed up on her pronunciation of Maria Mitchell and Sankety. It wasn’t pleasant to listen to the mispronunciations. Other than that the narrator had a pleasant voice.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyable!

Even though this audio book was an abridged version of the original, I still enjoyed it.
I have not read the book but became curious about reading the book after hearing the audio version due to Sena Jeta Naslund's moving, descriptive language.
The narrator's engaging voice communicated clearly the contents of the book and was successful at keeping me enthralled.
If you do not have the time to listen to an audio book, which could be longer than 8 chapters, then this will suit you.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Read

Loved the story line with depth and understanding of the sea, triumphs and hardships. Excellent!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Life's journey is never reached by a straight path

If you could sum up Ahab's Wife in three words, what would they be?

Captivating, poetic, inspiring

What did you like best about this story?

The unencumbered text that describes a labyrinth of experiences - each one building to create a most interesting story

Have you listened to any of Maryann Plunkett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to other performances, but would be eager to do so

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

the moment of bravery in each of the decisions made by the female lead character

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

stunning delight

I started the book in a paperback while out to sea. I was spellbound by its content and how it was written. I wasnt able to finish it so very excited to complete it audibly. I was able to enjoy both experiences which were equally delicious