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Our Wives Under The Sea

"A spooky tale of what happens to a scientist when she returns from the bottom of the ocean irrevocably changed, and the woman who loves her. "

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

A haunting tale of love and the mysteries of the ocean, Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield defies characterisation, and yet pulls you in with its poetic writing. It’s part love story, part oceanography lesson, part horror story, and every time you turn the page, you’re not sure what you’ll get next. 

It is the debut novel of Julia Armfield, whose short stories have won a clutch of awards, including the Pushcart Prize. This novel was shortlisted for Foyles Book of the Year in 2022. 

The tale is told from two perspectives. Leah’s, the scientist who plumbed the depths of the ocean in a submarine, only for the mission to go horrendously wrong, and Miri’s, the wife she left behind. The perspective also switches between two different timelines, with Leah’s account detailing the mission itself, and Miri recounting Leah’s recovery—such as it is-- once she returns. 

As much as Miri would like their life to return to normal, there’s no denying that something isn’t right with Leah. But because Miri loves Leah, she pushes through her frustrations, hoping that eventually things will be how they used to be. This novel is so many things: romantic and strange and harrowing, but it’s undeniable that this gothic fairy tale is unique.  

Maureen Stapleton

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