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Our Wives Under the Sea

Miri thinks she has got her wife back, when Leah finally returns after a deep sea mission that ended in catastrophe. It soon becomes clear, though, that Leah is not the same. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded on the ocean floor, Leah has brought part of it back with her, onto dry land and into their home.

Moving through something that only resembles normal life, Miri comes to realize that the life that they had before might be gone. Though Leah is still there, Miri can feel the woman she loves slipping from her grasp.

Our Wives Under the Sea is the debut novel from 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.



Praise for Our Wives Under the Sea:


Our Wives Under the Sea has been named a Waterstones Book You Need in 2022.

‘Following on from her almost unfathomably good collection of short stories salt slow (2019), Julia Armfield’s Our Wives Under The Sea is a lesbian Gothic novel that will devastate you.’ DAZED

'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

'OUR WIVES UNDER THE SEA is 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 


'Reading this book is like diving into the deepest depths of the ocean and finding beautiful and disturbing wonders.' Kirsty Logan

'Beautiful, otherworldly, like floating through water with your eyes open.' Daisy Johnson

'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

'Julia Armfield is one of my favourite writers, 'Our Wives Under the Sea' moves fluidly between horror story and love story, the gorgeous andthe grotesque. A contemporary gothic fairy tale, sublime in its creepiness' Florence Welch

'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 

'A wonderful novel, deeply romantic and fabulously strange. I loved this book.' Sarah Waters

'A strange, unnerving novel that wrongfoots you at every turn and invites you to think again about loss, absence, and transformation, Our Wives Under The Sea also returns wholly original answers to that great question, 'Where did we come from, where are we going?' It is a beautiful, lyrically written elegy.' Neel Mukherjee

'Frightening, otherworldly, but above all gripping. Julia Armfield's great triumph here is to transform a latent, abstract fear of the unknown into a pulsing, prickling tension — & to keep that tension taut for more than 200 pages.’ The Sunday Times

'Our Wives Under The Sea is a hypnotic and affecting love story - an exploration of intimacy and its opposites, as well as of incomprehension, absence and unfathomable uncertainty.' The Literary Review

'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

'Armfield anchors the shudder-producing tale in authentic marine science and a deep understanding of human nature. This is mesmerizing.' Publisher's Weekly, Starred review 


Agent: Sam Copeland
Other Julia Armfield Titles