“Jeffrey Ford is one of the few writers who uses wonder instead of ink in his pen.” – Jonathan Carroll
A bold and intriguing fabulist novel that reimagines two of the most legendary characters in American literature—Captain Ahab and Ishmael of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick—from the critically acclaimed Edgar and World Fantasy award-winning author of The Girl in the Glass and The Shadow Year.
At the end of a long journey, Captain Ahab returns to the mainland to confront the true author of the novel Moby-Dick, his former shipmate, Ishmael. For Ahab was not pulled into the ocean’s depths by a harpoon line, and the greatly exaggerated rumors of his untimely death have caused him grievous harm—after hearing about Ahab’s demise, his wife and child left Nantucket for New York, and now Ahab is on a desperate quest to find them.
Ahab’s pursuit leads him to The Gorgon’s Mirror, the sensationalist tabloid newspaper that employed Ishmael as a copy editor while he wrote the harrowing story of the ill-fated Pequod. In the penny press’s office, Ahab meets George Harrow, who makes a deal with the captain: the newspaperman will help Ahab navigate the city in exchange for the exclusive story of his salvation from the mouth of the great white whale. But their investigation—like Ahab’s own story—will take unexpected, dangerous, and ultimately tragic turns.
Told with wisdom, suspense, a modicum of dry humor and horror, and a vigorous stretching of the truth, Ahab’s Return charts an inventive and intriguing voyage involving one of the most memorable characters in classic literature, and pays homage to one of the greatest novels ever written.
What if Ahab survived the sinking of the Pequod and Moby-Dick was a fictionalized version of reality penned by Ishmael? In this unusual and gripping novel from Edgar-winner Ford (The Shadow Year), the monomaniacal captain's quest is to reunite with his family. In 1853, George Harrow, a writer for a New York City tabloid who never lets his stories be bound by the truth, encounters Ahab at Fraunce's Tavern. When Ahab explains how he escaped from the white whale and made his way back, Harrow decides to join Ahab in his effort to track down his wife, Iris, and son, Gabriel. The captain learns that Iris has succumbed to smallpox, and that Gabriel, now 16, has fallen in with a street gang. The pair's search for Gabriel leads them to a unique, race-blind community whose children are being murdered, and a reunion with another Pequod survivor. Fans of successful reimaginings of literary classics such as Louis Bayard's Mr. Timothy, about a grown-up Tiny Tim, will be entertained.