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A marriage on the rocks as couple abandons suburbia for the high seas

Fiction: Sea Wife

Amity Gaige

Little, Brown, 288 pages, e-book £10.99 out now; hardback out July 2, €22.99

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Amity Gaige

Amity Gaige

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige

Sea Wife by Amity Gaige

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Amity Gaige

People do desperate things when they're coping with an ailing marriage: have an affair, have a baby, remodel the house or themselves. The troubled couple at the centre of Sea Wife try something even bolder: They take to the open water in a yacht for a year-long cruise around the world with their two children, ages seven and two. As it turns out, they might have been better off opting for a recommitment ceremony at the local banquet hall.

Sea Wife is a moody and compelling literary novel about the hidden depths of a marriage. It nods to, but does not fully embrace, the conventions of suspense. For instance, we readers know from the opening pages that something has happened to Michael Partlow, the husband of the pair. The tip-off is that his wife, Julia Partlow, is back on dry land - indeed, taking refuge on the floor of a bedroom wardrobe - trying to steel herself to leave their Connecticut home: "If I were to go out, to start walking around and seeing people again and going to the grocery store and getting on with it, invariably what someone would ask me is, Do you wish you'd never gone?" That's not the "Didja have fun?" type of inquiry that a sojourn at sea usually incites.


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