Our Wives Under The Sea

Our Wives Under The Sea

3.87 (21,771 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.87 (21,771 ratings by Goodreads)

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Named as a book to look out for by Guardian, i-D, Autostraddle, Bustle, Good Housekeeping, Stylist and DAZED.

Our Wives Under The Sea is the debut novel from the critically acclaimed author of Salt Slow. It's a story of falling in love, loss, grief, and what life there is in the deep, deep sea.

Miri thinks she has got her wife back, when Leah finally returns after a deep sea mission that ended in catastrophe. It soon becomes clear, though, that Leah may have come back wrong. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded on the ocean floor, Leah has carried part of it with her, onto dry land and into their home.

To have the woman she loves back should mean a return to normal life, but Miri can feel Leah slipping from her grasp. Memories of what they had before - the jokes they shared, the films they watched, all the small things that made Leah hers - only remind Miri of what she stands to lose. Living in the same space but suddenly separate, Miri comes to realize that the life that they had might be gone.

'Part bruisingly tender love story, part nerve-clanging submarine thriller . . . heart-slicing, cinematic.' - The Times
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 143 x 224 x 27mm | 354g
  • Picador
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1529017238
  • 9781529017236
  • 6,068

Review quote

Julia Armfield is one of my favourite writers, Our Wives Under The Sea moves fluidly between horror story and love story, the gorgeous and the grotesque. A contemporary gothic fairy tale, sublime in its creepiness. -- Florence Welch Julia Armfield's weird and wonderful debut feels fresh (or rather, salty) . . . You hear a lot of people lamenting the death of innovation in contemporary fiction . . . and Armfield is a brilliant counterpoint. -- Susie Goldsbrough and Robbie Millen * The Times 100 Best Books for Summer * Frightening, otherworldly, but above all gripping. * Sunday Times * Sharp, atmospheric, dryly funny, sad, distinctive . . . There is an almost spiritual endlessness to its quest. Like all good novels, it goes deep and then deeper again. * Irish Times * Our Wives Under The Sea is a hypnotic and affecting love story - an exploration of intimacy and its opposites, as well as of incomprehension, absence and unfathomable uncertainty. * Literary Review * As in her stories, Armfield is extremely good at anatomising the women's relationship: the self-defensive blindnesses, the resentments and rituals and angers, grief for vanished joys - all the small moments of which lasting love consists. There are clever lines, everywhere, and wry, funny ones. * Guardian * Part bruisingly tender love story, part nerve-clanging submarine thriller. Creative innovation is there if you're looking for it - and to anyone lamenting its loss: order a copy . . . There is such tenderness in the precision of these observations of long-term love and such eerie estrangement when the uncanny intrudes. Eventually, the two moods fuse at the novel's heart-slicing, cinematic climax. I'll be thinking about it for ages - and checking the bathtub for grit. * The Times * If you're in the mood to cry, then Julia Armfield wrote the perfect book for ya . . . Armfield breaks your heart over and over (but in a good way, promise). * Cosmopolitan * Julia Armfield's haunting debut novel deftly weaves a love story into creeping horror. . .Our Wives Under The Sea is a quiet triumph, but beware - this unsettling, saltwater-soaked story seeps deeper than you think. * The i * A strange, unnerving novel that wrongfoots you at every turn and invites you to think again about loss, absence, and transformation, Our Wives Under The Sea also returns wholly original answers to that great question, 'Where did we come from, where are we going?' It is a beautiful, lyrically written elegy. * Neel Mukherjee * A wonderful novel, deeply romantic and fabulously strange. I loved this book. -- Sarah Waters Beautiful, otherworldly, like floating through water with your eyes open. -- Daisy Johnson Delicate and horrifying, Our Wives Under The Sea is a darkly brilliant novel that submerges the reader's imagination in the depths of the unknown. * Megan Hunter * Reading this book is like diving into the deepest depths of the ocean and finding beautiful and disturbing wonders. -- Kirsty Logan Our Wives is spooky and romantic: a gorgeous, lyrical novel that gets under your skin. Armfield leads you softly through a story that feels epic and intimate at the same time. -- Sarvat Hasin Tender, strange, lucid, and so assured - comparisons feel insubstantial, but if you love sci fi or love stories or books that defy labels or chew-your-arm-off good writing, this is for you. -- Kiran Millwood Hargrave A mesmerizing triumph. Julia Armfield has created a surprisingly seamless novel: it is a love story, a grief story, a question without end. It's a tale of the sea that swallows you whole and breaks your heart in the very best way. It is tender and funny. It is shockingly bold. Without a doubt, it is one of the best books I've ever read. It's not only art, it's a perfect miracle. We are lucky for it. -- Kristen Arnett Strange and romantic . . . a deeply unnerving elegy to memory. * i-D * A modern fable about grief, love, and what really lies deep at the bottom of the ocean. -- 'Queer and Feminist Books to look out for in 2022' * Autostraddle * Essential and haunting. * Stylist * Lyrical and moving. * Prima * Armfield's novel expertly interweaves fairy-tale and horror motifs with a moving and intimate portrayal of loss. * The Fantasy Hive * Otherworldliness infuses the everyday with a haunting lucidity. This gorgeously written tale confirms
Julia Armfield as a master of the domestic uncanny, and of observing human relationships. * Culture Whisper * A modern-day myth about love, grief and the depths of the ocean that moves fluidly between romance and horror. * Monocle * Deeply romantic and devastating * Refinery29 'Best Books for Summer Holidays' *
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About Julia Armfield

Julia Armfield was born in London in 1990. She is a fiction writer with a Master's in Victorian Art and Literature from Royal Holloway University. She was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Award and won the White Review short story prize and the Pushcart Prize. She is the author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, Salt Slow, and Our Wives Under The Sea.
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Rating details

3.87 out of 5 stars
- 21,771 ratings
5 29% (6,261)
4 39% (8,500)
3 24% (5,198)
2 7% (1,482)
1 2% (330)
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