Our Wives Under The Sea
Winner of the Polari Prize 2023
Shortlisted for the Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize
‘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.
'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.
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.
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.