CAP­TAIN NAPHI

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - BOOKS -

One of her arms is a whirring me­chan­i­cal con­trap­tion and all of her is geared to hunt­ing a mas­sive al­bino ‘ moldy­warpe’ ( a gi­ant mole). This may sound a bit ridicu­lous with­out con­text but in Railsea, a reimag­in­ing of Moby Dick, Cap­tain Naphi is Mieville’s ver­sion of Cap­tain Ahab and a fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ter at that. Her de­ter­mi­na­tion to find the mole is fear­some. Her crew is both pet­ri­fied and in ab­so­lute awe of her. You’d think a woman with­out all her limbs would seem hand­i­capped, but not Naphi. It’s not of­ten that a char­ac­ter is both men­ac­ing as well as re­as­sur­ing — Naphi man­ages this bal­ance and is some­one no one would mess with. This is a woman we want by our side.

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