The Seal Wife

The Seal Wife

A Novel

Book - 2002
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Stunning, hypnotic, spare, The Seal Wife is the masterly new novel by Kathryn Harrison, "a writer of extraordinary gifts" (Tobias Wolff). Set in Alaska in 1915, it tells the story of a young scientist's consuming love for a woman known as the Aleut, a woman who never speaks, who refuses to reveal so much as her name. Born and educated in midwestern cities, Bigelow is sent north by the United States government to establish a weather observatory in Anchorage. But what could have prepared him for the loneliness of a railroad town with more than two thousand men and only a handful of women, or for winter nights twenty hours long? And what can protect him from obsession--obsession with a woman who seems in her silence and mystery to possess the power to destroy his life forever, and obsession with the weather kite he invents, a kite he hopes will fly higher than any has ever flown before and will penetrate the secrets of the heavens? A novel of passions both dangerous and generative, The Seal Wife explores the nature of desire and its ability to propel an individual beyond himself and convention. As she brilliantly reimagines the terrain of the Alaskan frontier during the period of the First World War, Harrison, a "master of her material" (Mary Gordon), also evokes early efforts to chart the weather and reveals the interior realm of the psyche and emotions--a human landscape that, in its splendor and terror, is profoundly and eerily reminiscent of the frozen frontier and the storms that scour its face.
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2002
ISBN: 9780375506291
Branch Call Number: FICTION Harrison
Characteristics: 224 p. ; 24 cm


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May 24, 2013

I started this book on May 21, 2013. I think I have seen the movie a long time ago......May 24, not making great progress, I should be finished this by now, but....also watching season 4 of Heros, so that is slowing me down. (Great bird watching at the cabin is also a bit distracting! 2 unusual types spotted, black headed grosbeak, and my first ever sighting of a Lazuli bunting!)......May 26, finished this off tonight, the last 2/3 must have been good as I couldn't keep my nose out of it. I would have to put this one in the weird but somewhat wonderful category. I am interested to read Kathyn's "The Kiss," her memoir, which might give me a hint as to why I found this book a little on the weird side? If I can find the movie, I would like to watch it again, now that I have read the luck finding the video, maybe I read this book before, because I was sure I watched it!!!!?? Funny...........June 2, just finished "The Kiss," and it certainly explains why I found this book slightly weird. Truth is certainly stranger than fiction!!!


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