The cover alone drew me into this gripping and very emotionally exhausting new novel by Amity Gaige. But it’s the story that kept me reading. I just can not imagine doing what this young couple did.
Once upon a time in present day, a young father of two who has become disenchanted with his job in the business world, decides he wants to take a year off from his real life and buy a sailboat, and take his wife and two children along, all for the adventure of a lifetime. Wife is not excited about this. She is a stay-at-home mom who deals with bouts of depression in the best of times. After much pressure is put on her she caves in, she agrees to the trip. So off they go to Panama where they will pick up their forty-four foot yacht that they purchased sight unseen. Boom!
My instinct told me this was just wrong, but a part of me was intrigued and looking forward to the ride. A great marriage would be sorely tested by a challenge such as this. But an already troubled marriage is probably not going to make it.
The voyage begins well. This is all fresh and new at first. They revel in the uniqueness and actually enjoy the adventure …..until they don’t. First of all I can’t for the life of me see taking a toddler on a sailing boat for any length of time. That being said, things begin to deteriorate and then they begin unraveling until nothing is left.
There are moments in this novel during the at- sea segments when I could hardly read fast enough. The weather does not always cooperate and these scenes are heart-stopping. I learned a lot about sailing and I knew next to nothing. I do know, after reading this story, I am not interested in sailing for any length of time…. Period. And certainly not to Cartagena, Colombia.
The structure seems odd at first. But once you see where the author is going you will have an easier time following along. What you will get is a strong sense of Juliet’s depression immediately. The beginning is confusing, but please don’t be deterred.
Gaige sure knows how to write about marriage woes and motherhood. Secrets have been kept and by the time we find out why and what, a tragedy has occurred.
Let’s just say this novel does not end well, for anyone. But the writing and the scenes are so wonderful that you know you are in the company of a great author.
Gaige wrote SCHRODER in 2013 and already has proven her expertise in writing. With SEA WIFE she has cemented her brilliance.
My review copy was provided by Knopf in exchange for an honest review. It’s a literary triumph for sure. And I made sure it made it onto the summer reading list for Elaine Newton’s Critic’s Choice list. We call it just The List. Cheers!
SEA WIFE will be available for purchase on Tuesday, April 28th. You can order your copy from Copperfish Books. They will be discounted 20%. It’s on The List so you know you want it….. Just saying.