Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield


From Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year finalist Julia Armfield, a haunting, utterly original debut novel about a couple dealing with the aftermath of a disastrous deep-sea mission

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Our Bookseller says:

At once a moving meditation on grief and partnership, OUR WIVES UNDER THE SEA is equal parts horrifying and mesmerizing. After a deep sea diving expedition goes wrong, Miri’s wife Leah returns to the surface different than when she went under, and Miri, who thought Leah was dead, is left with the emotional whiplash of grieving the loss of her wife in a different way. Told in alternating POVs, Leah’s chapters of this book felt like opening your eyes underwater, disorienting and blurred; while Miri’s chapters felt like when you’re fumbling for a light switch in the dark, something you know is right there, but feels just out of reach. – Gaby

Leah is changed. A marine biologist, she left for a routine expedition months earlier, only this time her submarine sank to the sea floor. When she finally surfaces and returns home, her wife Miri knows that something is wrong. Barely eating and lost in her thoughts, Leah rotates between rooms in their apartment, running the taps morning and night. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded, Leah has carried part of it with her, onto dry land and into their home. As Miri searches for answers, desperate to understand what happened below the water, she must face the possibility that the woman she loves is slipping from her grasp.

By turns elegiac and furious, wry and heartbreaking, Our Wives Under the Sea is an exploration of the unknowable depths within each of us, and the love that compels us nevertheless toward one another. Fathomlessly inventive and original, Julia Armfield’s debut is a portrait of marriage as we’ve never seen it before.

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield