The Seal Wife

Kathryn Harrison

From the author of the bestselling ‘The Binding Chair’ comes an extraordinary tale of desire set in the snowfields of 1917 Alaska.

Bigelow is a scientist, meticulous and obsessive, a man of tightly coiled passion. Stationed in the tiny frontier town of Anchorage, Alaska in 1915, he builds a weather observatory, a kite big enough to penetrate the heavens, carrying instruments to track the great storms that scour the land. He is distracted from his labours when he meets a native Aleut woman, a stitcher of furs, whose muteness calls up in him an almost unbearable longing. Her ferocious self-containment begins to seem to him more and more animal – and yet the more her silence pushes him away he burns to possess her. And when she disappears, he begins to believe he’ll die if he never sees her again…

An incendiary tale set against the sear and haunting landscape of the Great North, ‘The Seal Wife’ merges the enchantment of myth with a taut and chilling story of erotic compulsion.

Reviews of The Seal Wife

    • Praise for ‘The Binding Chair’:
    • ‘A spellbinding novel, ruthless, moving and utterly without sentiment.’ Mail on Sunday
    • ‘“The Binding Chair” is a disturbing, beautifully plotted novel, intricate in its detail and panoramic in its sweep. It presents us with a world in which tragedy is natural and everyday, where beauty is a reminder of cruelty.’ Daily Telegraph
    • ‘Harrison’s mesmeric voice compels the reader towards the inevitable climax. “The Binding Chair” is a beautiful account of the lives of two very different women and the difficulties they face in their quest for independence.’ Observer
    • ‘A vivid family saga. The characters come alive on the page. Harrison has convincingly captured the Shanghai of the early 20th-century, a jarring, cacophonous, swarming city of possibility.’ Evening Standard