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Extended Audio Sample The Seal Wife Audiobook, by Kathryn Harrison Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (348 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kathryn Harrison Narrator: Fred Stella Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9781543613353
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A stunning and hypnotic novel by "a writer of extraordinary gifts" [Tobias Wolff], The Seal Wife tells the story of a young scientist and his consuming love for a woman known as Aleut. In 1915, Bigelow is sent to establish a weather observatory in Anchorage, Alaska, and finds that nothing has prepared him for the loneliness of a railroad town of over two thousand men and only a handful of women, of winter nights twenty hours long. And nothing can protect him from obsession-both with a woman, who seems in her silence and mystery to possess the power to destroy his life forever, and with the weather kite he designs to fly higher than any kite has ever flown before, a kite with which Bigelow plans to penetrate and know not just the sky but 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 outside conventions. Harrison brilliantly re-creates the Alaskan frontier during the period of the first World War and in lyrical prose explores the interior landscape of the psyche and human emotions - a landscape eerily continuous with the splendor and terror of the frozen frontier, the storms that blow over the earth and its face. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • One of the 2002 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine Griffin | 2/16/2014

    " Loved the mesmerizing prose. The story was captivating, and the historical detail fascinating. A bit too much emphasis on the protagonist's sex life...... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amber | 2/13/2014

    " Ick. If you ever consider checking this book out, don't. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alana | 2/2/2014

    " Strange, but beautifully written. I was more in love with the sentences than the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Les. | 2/2/2014

    " Desolate - but in a comfortable kinda way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sylvia | 1/28/2014

    " I give it three and a half stars. Kathryn Harrison is a great writer and I have read most of her novels and some of her non-fiction. She is very good at creating characters from various times throughout history. In this book her story is set in Alaska in the time right before WWI. The main character Bigelow comes north to track the weather for the U.S. government. While there he falls obsessively for a woman who does not speak who he calls the Aleut. Harrison's writing style was very spare in this book, which completely matches the setting and the isolation Bigelow feels every day. I liked how neither Bigelow, nor the reader, really knows much about the Aleut and how their relationship seems to be a little like a myth of a man who falls in love with a seal. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill | 1/25/2014

    " gets you in "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Rosenthal | 1/21/2014

    " What can I say? I love Kathryn's writing and having her at my bookclub was amazing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 sisterimapoet | 1/14/2014

    " Peculiar but strangely engaging. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosalind | 1/7/2014

    " Very strange, intriguing, and interesting. Some very beautiful writing. One short chapter is one of the best action sequences I've every read; had me gasping for breath. At the end I was left wondering. Forced to write a paper on it, I might have a chance of figuring it out. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lori | 12/31/2013

    " This book is another favorite set against a bleak backdrop...a story so quirky I couldn't resist it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha Johnson | 12/30/2013

    " This is a book that takes you to another world -- Alaska -- in a different century. It's a love story and a culture-mixing story that is a little hard to imagine because the writing is so spare. Nevertheless, well worth the read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 12/4/2013

    " Beautifully written, just gorgeous. Simple but deft, glowing. It's my favorite sort of book, the kind that just sweeps you effortlessly along, bathing you in some other world. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heidi | 11/26/2013

    " Relentless, the most mysterious character-driven book I can remember reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin Yaklin | 11/9/2013

    " so different from her other characters. great descriptions "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori-Ann | 9/14/2013

    " Wanted to read the book because I thought it was a story about Silkies, and found out that it had nothing at all to do with the mythology of Silkies at all. It was an okay story. The title is misleading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 4/8/2013

    " You know ... I didn't love this book, but I couldn't put it down so I guess it was pretty good. It's definitely a little different than what I typically read, but I think it was a fairly beautiful story. You know, if you're into scary obsessive guys. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abigail King | 12/25/2012

    " a book about communication and the man-woman thing. double feature with DeLillo's Body Artist. also resonates with Amy Bloom's Away. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 9/28/2012

    " I was a bit confused by part of the story only because I didn't get it. I do love the way Harrison writes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy Kiro | 9/27/2012

    " Bleak landscape, bleak lives but told so wonderfully it provides warmth and humanity in this landscape. The seal wife is pragamatic and coming to terms with how to survive in this environment without losing oneself. A kind of allegory of life... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monica | 8/16/2012

    " Love the lyrical style of this tale of obsession. Beautiful prose. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Martha | 3/25/2011

    " I thought i would get some insight into wild alaska. The book was too involved with the details of the weatherman and his infatuation for a lost love, too slow and drawn out for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Merty | 2/24/2011

    " Good book that I enjoyed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arlene Corbin | 10/29/2010

    " I loved it there was even some history in it "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sophie Wainwright | 5/9/2010

    " Unusual and haunting account of a passionate relationship, the stark Alaskan landscape and extreme weather is brilliantly described and creates a deeply intense atmosphere against which the love story is played out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara Diane | 1/6/2010

    " While I can't recommend this one to anyone due to subject matter, it did have some great writing. Harrison creates vivid characters, and she captured the desolation of early Alaska. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz Flores | 5/25/2009

    " I enjoy Harrison's writing, particularly her descriptive language, but also always find it a little disturbing - not sure why, and in no way it discourages me from reading her books. "

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About the Author
Author Kathryn Harrison

Kathryn Harrison is the author of the novels EnvyThe Seal Wife, The Binding Chair, Poison, Exposure, and Thicker Than Water. She has also written memoirs, The Kiss and The Mother Knot, a travel memoir, The Road to Santiago, a biography, Saint Therese of Lisieux, and a collection of personal essays, Seeking Rapture. Ms. Harrison is a frequent reviewer for the New York Times Book Review; her essays, which have been included in many anthologies, have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’sVogue, Salon, and other publications. She lives in New York with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison, and their children.

About the Narrator

Fred Stella has worked as an actor and voice talent in radio, television, independent films, and audiobooks. He was awarded the Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award for Best Male Narration in 2002. He is on the adjunct faculty staff of Muskegon Community College.