Amity Gaige joined us online to read from her latest novel Sea Wife, a smart, sophisticated literary page-turner about a young family who escapes suburbia for a year-long sailing trip that upends all of their lives. Gaige discussed her work with author Adam Haslett (Imagine Me Gone) and answered audience questions.
By Amity Gaige
Published by WW Norton
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?