A meandering but eloquent descent into bereavement and the instances where grieving precedes the loss itself. Our Wives Under the Sea is atmospheric horror at its finest, with each chapter a slow crescendo of desperation, of asking "how do you hold onto someone when they're actively slipping from your grasp?" Armfield masterfully leads us to what we perhaps knew all along — that sometimes you must let go. Recommended By Charlotte S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Fathomlessly inventive and original, Julia Armfield's Our Wives Under the Sea is a portrait of marriage as we've never seen it before.
"A wonderful novel, deeply romantic and fabulously strange. I loved this book." Sarah Waters
"Without a doubt, 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
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.
"Tender, strange, lucid, and so assured. 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
" Beautiful, otherworldly, like floating through water with your eyes open." Daisy Johnson, author of Sisters and Everything Under
"This phenomenal book is a marriage tale unlike any other. Thrilling, funny and exquisitely crafted, this book will make you question everything while it keeps you up all night turning its pages." Danielle Lazarin, author of Back Talk
About the Author
Julia Armfield is the author of the story collection salt slow and the novel Our Wives Under the Sea. Her work has been published in Granta, Lighthouse, Analog Magazine, Neon Magazine, and Best British Short Stories. She is the winner of the White Review Short Story Prize and a Pushcart Prize, and she was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2019. She lives and works in London.