A haunting and moving debut novel about love, loss and grief - about what life there is the deep ocean and what happens when we go looking for it.
A haunting and moving novel about love, loss and grief – about what life there is the deep ocean and what happens when we go looking for it.
Winner of the Polari Prize 2023
‘A gothic fairy tale, sublime in its creepiness’ – Florence Welch
Our Wives Under The Sea is the haunting novel from Julia Armfiled, 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. But It soon becomes clear 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.
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.
Shortlisted for the Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize
'A wonderful novel, deeply romantic and fabulously strange' – Sarah Waters, author of Ghost Wall
'Part bruisingly tender love story, part nerve-clanging submarine thriller' – The Times
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
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 *
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 *
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 *
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 *
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, author of The Mercies and The Dance Tree
A wonderful novel, deeply romantic and fabulously strange. I loved this book. -- Sarah Waters, author of Ghost Wall and Summerwater
Beautiful, otherworldly, like floating through water with your eyes open. -- Daisy Johnson, author of Fen
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, author of The Giant Dark
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, author of The End We Start From
Reading this book is like diving into the deepest depths of the ocean and finding beautiful and disturbing wonders. -- Kirsty Logan, author of Now She is Witch
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, author of Mostly Dead Things
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 *
Essential and haunting. * Stylist *
Frightening, otherworldly, but above all gripping. * Sunday Times *
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 *
Dimensions: 196mm x 130mm x 16mm