Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

Sea Wife: Book summary and reviews of Sea Wife by Amity Gaige

Sea Wife

by Amity Gaige

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige X
Sea Wife by Amity Gaige
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published Apr 2020
    288 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

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

Juliet is failing to juggle motherhood and her anemic dissertation when her husband, Michael, informs her that he wants to leave his job and buy a sailboat. The couple are novice sailors, but Michael persuades Juliet to say yes. 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--a boat that Michael has christened the Juliet.

The initial result is transformative: their marriage is given a gust of energy, and even the children are affected by the beauty and wonderful vertigo of travel. The sea challenges them all--and most of all, Juliet, who suffers from postpartum depression.

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 dire, life-changing events that unfolded at sea; and Michael's captain's log--that provides a riveting, slow-motion account of those same inexorable events.

Exuberant, harrowing, witty, and exquisitely written, Sea Wife is impossible to put down. A wholly original take on one of our oldest stories--survival at sea--it also asks a pertinent question for our polarized political moment: How does a crew with deep philosophical differences and outmoded gender roles bring a ship safely to shore?

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] splendid, wrenching novel...Every element of this impressive novel clicks into a dazzling, heartbreaking whole." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[T]he seafaring sections are gripping...Yet the novel is also a ship carrying a lot of ballast, as Gaige sometimes strains to keep the couple's parrying going: spats, riffs on parenting, literary analysis, and a late-breaking murder mystery that feels tacked-on. None of which sinks the story, but it does dampen its power. A powerful if sometimes wayward take on a marriage on the rocks." - Kirkus Reviews

"This book's unusual structure is effective once you figure out what Gaige is up to. There are multiple layers to explore for contemporary literary scholars or a committed book club, as Gaige (Schroder) has much to say about the struggles and complexities of marriage, particularly in our current political and cultural climate." - Library Journal

"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

"Taut as a thriller, emotionally precise yet threaded with lyricism, Sea Wife is at once the compelling story of a family's glorious, misbegotten seafaring adventure and an allegory for life itself. This is an unforgettable novel." - Claire Messud

"Sea Wife is an immersive pleasure. Amity Gaige captivates us, tricks us, and transports us. She understands the inner and the outer world—from quiet misery to murderous seas—and there is no world she cannot explore and illuminate." - Amy Bloom

"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

This information about Sea Wife was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Amity Gaige Author Biography

Amity Gaige is the author of three novels, O My Darling, The Folded World, and Schroder, which was shortlisted for The Folio Prize in 2014. To date, Schroder has been published in eighteen countries.

Schroder was named one of Best Books of 2013 by The New York Times Book Review, The Huffington Post, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Kirkus, The Women's National Book Association, Cosmopolitan, Denver Post, The Buffalo News, The Millions.com, Amazon.com, Bookmarks, Publisher's Weekly, among others. Amity has won many awards for her previous novels, such as Foreword Book of the Year Award for 2007, and in 2006, she was recognized as one of the "5 Under 35" outstanding emerging writers by the National Book Foundation. Amity is the winner of a Fulbright Fellowship, a ...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Amity Gaige's Website

Other books by Amity Gaige at BookBrowse
  • Schroder jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more literary fiction...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Bewilderment
    by Richard Powers
    In 2019, Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory, a sprawling novel whose characters...
  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Cradles of the Reich
by Jennifer Coburn
Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race.
Who Said...

At times, our own light goes out, and is rekindled by a spark from another person.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.