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  • Writer's pictureCatriona Fida

Our Wives Under the Sea

Nothing happens and I love it!

Our Wives Under the Sea is told from two alternating perspectives: Miri and her wife Leah, a marine biologist, who spends months at the bottom of the ocean as a result of an expedition gone wrong.

Leah returns from her mission and Miri is relieved, but it soon becomes clear that all is not what it seems and Leah is not the same as she was. The book is about their relationship and how Miri deals with their emotional distance, but it’s also about Leah’s fascination with the sea, its possibilities and undiscoverability. The realism of Miri’s claustrophobia in her relationship and the mundane world she occupies in contrast to Leah lends this novel to being a good introduction to speculative fiction and gives the reader a familiar frame of reference that I thought worked really well.

This book is exactly the type of thing I love to read: literary, little bit unsettling, little bit speculative, but doesn’t make my brain work too hard. There are lots of science-y elements to Our Wives but it never feels like the author is regurgitating a textbook: it’s interesting and, more importantly, they serve a purpose in the narrative. The writing was clever and for a book with very little happening, it was surprisingly suspenseful (I mean, that ending!).

I’ve never read anything from Julia Armfield before but since reading Our Wives (and hearing all about Salt Slow from @emshelflove) I think she’s going to become one of my auto-buy authors. 10/10 would recommend to a friend.


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