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Sea Wife

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780349726496

Price: £8.99

‘Taut as a thriller’ Claire Messud

‘A gripping tale of survival at sea – but that’s just the beginning’ Jennifer Egan

‘A smart, swift and thrilling novel’ Lauren Groff

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.


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
Few writers have portrayed marriage and parenthood with more fierce intelligence than Amity Gaige, but in Sea Wife, she has outdone herself. This is an unforgettable portrait of a family that ventures out to sea, only to be riven by the weight of the past, and the politics of the present. Piercingly written and compelling from beginning to end, Sea Wife is a major accomplishment
Adam Haslett
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
[A] splendid, wrenching novel . . . Every element of this impressive novel clicks into a dazzling, heartbreaking whole
Publishers Weekly (starred)
Gripping . . . A powerful take on a marriage on the rocks
Kirkus Reviews
[A] splendid, wrenching novel . . . Every element of this impressive novel clicks into a dazzling, heartbreaking whole
Publishers Weekly
The narrative of this literary page-turner is split between a husband and wife, whose accounts of their journey around the Caribbean by boat with their young family don't quite match. It's not only a gripping story of survival at sea, but also a portrait of a marriage pushed to breaking point
Good Housekeeping
A smart, pacy and affecting book, which vividly captures the peaks and troughs of both married life and life on the waves
Daily Mail
It sounds like the recipe for a perfect storm: a couple whose marriage is floundering decide to spend a year sailing the Caribbean on a small yacht with their two young children in tow. As depressed poet Juliet slowly reveals the outcome, it's clear that the voyage hasn't gone to plan. Meanwhile, her husband's version of events unfolds via his journal. A missing-person mystery adds to the tension of this smart seafaring adventure
Eithne Farry, Mail on Sunday
A trip of a lifetime sailing around the Central American coast turns into disaster for Juliet, Michael and their two young children in this skilfully navigated thriller which, while needling away at ideas of marriage and personal freedom, is particularly excellent on the day-to-day confinement of life aboard a small yacht in the middle of a turquoise sea
Claire Allfree, Metro