Cover Image: Our Wives Under the Sea

Our Wives Under the Sea

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Our Wives Under the Sea will its reader in awe the characters and occupied in thought regarding women's relationships, grief, and love. Highly creative and unique.
Was this review helpful?
I don't know what happened in this book but I still loved it. A lesbian horror story about how one changes after the trauma they experience.
Was this review helpful?
Love and sea monsters! What more could one ask for? I felt like the book was a little overwritten and long but the story was different and compelling enough one kept going. I like a little horror element and liked the main characters well enough but I wish they had more strongly different voices. They "talked" similarly and it was hard to keep them straight at times.
Was this review helpful?
When Miri's wife Leah leaves for her more recent deep sea exploration everything appears routine enough, until they lose contact with the submarine. Six months later, Leah is back from the sea - only Miri suspects the Leah in front of her isn't the same one who left all those months ago. The story unfolds through two POVs, with Miri showing their relationship in the past and present, and Leah's POV being from her time under the sea. 

While this book wasn't a true horror, the author did a wonderful job with creating a deep sense of unease throughout the novel, especially during chapters told from Leah's POV. The months spent in the submarine are months spent surrounded by the vast darkness of the sea. The author employs all of the explorerer's other senses - the disgusting rotting smell Leah mentions, the noises that that consume Jilka - so that it really feels like you are on board with them. There were also some truly gross body horror moments when Leah is back on land.

I really enjoyed this book, despite it not being quite what I thought it would be. This book is slow moving, but Julia Armfield's beautiful writing makes it worth it. 

Thank you to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for a review copy.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this read.
It was a slow burning horror where the frightening parts aren't in your face, but simmering just below the surface so that it leaves you feeling unsettled. 
Aside from the horror elements, it also deals with grief, which I was pleasantly surprised by.
If you decide to pick this one up, make sure you have some time carved out of your schedule because you'll want to read it straight through.
Thank you so much to Flatiron Books & NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book!
Was this review helpful?
So weird, twisted.... what a book! I can see why everyone was freaking out over this. Beautiful writing, and such an inventive story. I'm impressed!
Was this review helpful?
Very heartfelt and deep book. It talks about many different issues like lost, hope, depression, losing sense of purpose and more. The characters are people that you want to root for. The book is something to read slowly and digest all the information and wry storytelling that leaves you breathless as you slowly turn the page. Enjoy the story overall.
Was this review helpful?
This book is fantastic. It has that magical realism quality that fills it with unforgettable claustrophobic images and deeply touching moments. 
It's a gothic queer love story about change. It is also about the unknown depths of human experience, grief, loss, and the constant need for explanations. It is narrated from a dual perspective: Miri and Leah.
Miris's outlook is about the relationship and their previous lives together, and about what's happening with her wife, Leah, since coming back from an under-the-sea expedition that ended catastrophically. 
Leah's POV is about the expedition itself and her inner slow transformation. 
We know the previous Leah only from Miri's perspective and we can't help but mourn the kind human being that Miri is so desperately trying to recover. 
The prose is flawless and the language is so poetically sad that it is in perfect balance with the content of the novel and the state of mind of its narrators.
One of my favorite books of the year.
Was this review helpful?
Audiobook and book received for free through NetGalley 

I saw this book awhile back and before I could read it noticed it was also available as an audiobook. I loved the audiobook and couldn’t put it down. After reviewing it I somehow forgot to go back to the book to review. As such here’s the review for the audiobook: I absolutely adored this book. Slow going at bits but the words used where sublime. Story grabs you and you need to keep listening to find out what happens. So glad I came across it.
Was this review helpful?
An odd, slow, and ultimately beautiful novel, Our Wives Under the Sea tells the story of a married couple, Leah and Miri, in alternating chapters, as Leah returns from a deep-sea expedition that went awry resulting her changing in ways neither can explain or anticipate. The writing is lyrical, often a bit esoteric and the premise haunting. Some have called this a literary horror novel but for me, it was a satisfying and immersive read unlike your typical novel. If you like unusual narratives and can open yourself up to mystical happenings, you'll enjoy this book but it's not for everyone.
Was this review helpful?
Like so many others, I was intrigued by a premise that sounded like an under-the-sea version of Annihilation. This is that, though it also isn't.

I think that last sentence pretty much sums up a lot of my feelings about this one. The plot really doesn't go anywhere. In fact, there's not much of a plot beyond the blurb that drew you here in the first place, really. But that kind of feels like the point.

Ultimately, it's an interesting little mood piece that keeps you at arm's length throughout. Like you're staring at it through the window of your submarine, but you'll never quite touch it.

Many thanks to Flatiron for the ARC!
Was this review helpful?
This was not what I was expecting in a a good way. It made me think a bit as I was reading, which is something that I enjoy in all titles that I read. However this title also left me wanting much more. I wish that we had a better understanding of what happened while Leah was in the submarine for 5 months. And were Leah's chapters all her  journal entries from while she was down there? The flipping back in forth in some ways was a bit confusing since I always wanted more explanation from each chapter as to what Leah and Miri were thinking.
Was this review helpful?
I finished this one up last week, and it’s one I will definitely want to revisit. I enjoyed it but feel like I may have glossed over some of the details, and I’d like to revisit go over it with more of a fine toothed comb at some point.

It’s got some of my favorite things. Queer ladies and the ocean depths. When Miri’s wife’s submarine hits the ocean floor, deviating from the routine expedition, she comes back changed. She barely eats and is lost in her thoughts, obsessed with running the water taps in the house. It’s available wherever you get your books.
Was this review helpful?
A thank you to Netgalley for sharing the ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

As haunting and deceptively gentle as calm ocean waves. Beautiful, surreal, meditative, and morse, this is not the kind of book you read for a pick-me-up. I liked it, but I wouldn't want to read it again.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley,  author, and the publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read this e-arc.
Was this review helpful?
Although I devoured this in only a few days (which is pretty fast for me), I’m not really sure what I just read or how I feel about it. The premise of this story was interesting; Leah’s gets stranded on the bottom of the ocean in a submarine that was supposed to be on an exploration of the deep sea. When she comes back she is only a shell of the person she once was. I liked the dual POVs, Miri in present day (after Leah came back) and Leah during her time under the sea. I kept reading because I wanted to know what had happened down there. When we found out, I was kind of like huh, that’s it? Leah and her crew mates question their whole expedition, if it was truly for scientific research about the ocean depths or if it was more about researching THEM as humans in a confined space with no connection to the world above. I wanted more on this! The ending kind of just ended and I felt like I still had so many questions. Overall a very interesting read with dark twists and themes on grief and what I can only imagine is PTSD-like behavior.
Was this review helpful?
Beautifully written, Our Wives Under the Sea takes readers through a journey of love, grief and loss.  Miri's marine biologist wife, Leah, is at last returning home after six months at sea. A submariner exploratory mission that should have only taken weeks ends in a mysterious disaster, leaving Miri with many unanswered questions.

Upon her return, Miri and Leah seem to be leading separate lives, with Leah not eating, locking herself in the bathroom and slowly fading away.  Miri starts to come to terms with what happened and what reality is.
Was this review helpful?
Our Wives Under the Sea is a literary horror story about Leah and her wife, Miri. Leah has loved the ocean ever since she was a child, and now works as a marine biologist for a mysterious Centre. Miri is quite used to Leah’s deep water research missions, but when something horrible happens during Leah’s latest trip, Miri realizes that there’s something very wrong with her wife. Told in alternating narratives of the two women, this novel is a gorgeous and haunting story about love and grief. 

I don’t think that I can accurately describe how much I adored this book. It’s very short but it took me on a true rollercoaster of emotions; underneath the layer of horror and magic realism, it’s a beautiful story about loss, heartbreak, but also devotion and strength. The relationship between Leah and Miri feels so real and intimate that it simply took my breath away, and I think that even people who have no experience with sapphic relationships can find things to relate to. It’s a rather slower paced novel and the double narrative worked perfectly, slowly unfolding the mystery of Leah’s condition piece by piece.  

TLDR: Our Wives Under the Sea is a stunning, melancholic and tender novel that dresses up very universal experiences in a surreal, unsettling atmosphere. Exquisite!
Was this review helpful?
After Leah disappears on a deep sea research trip, she returns home changed. She keeps leaving behind a mysterious residue in the bathtub, her water bill is skyrocketing, and her wife Miri can’t help but feel that she’s more emotionally distant.

Miri desperately searches for answers as she feels Leah slipping away from her.

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield is a Lovecraftian and beautifully haunting portrait about loss and dealing with an estranged loved one. In fact, it did remind me quite a bit thematically of Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s Echo in the best possible way.

This book first caught my attention because I heard it was recommended by Florence Welch, and it did not disappoint.

Despite the supernatural undercurrent, this story feels grounded. The characters reactions feel believable. This is definitely a character study, and there’s something so natural and flawed about the two women’s relationship that this book honestly has one of my favorite depictions of a f/f relationship in an adult sci-f novel.

As a disclaimer though, there are questions that are left unanswered and left up to the reader’s imagination, but I didn’t personally mind since a huge part of cosmic horror deals in the unknowable.

All in all, this is an utterly gripping and immersive book that pulled me out of a reading dry spell after so many other new releases had let me down.

Thank you, NetGalley and Flatiron Books, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Underwater horror?  Aw yes.  It's hard to believe that this a debut novel, honestly.  When I read the synopsis, it reminded me of The Season of Passage by Christopher Pike, which freaked me out so badly as a teenager.  It's the idea of going somewhere remote or exotic and bringing something bad back with you, which is what happens in this book.  Something has happened to Leah since their deep sea mission and this story is somehow the intimacy of a partnership within the confines of a horror novel, which is interesting, and the writing is more lyrical than you would expect from a book like this.  It's slow but fascinating.
Was this review helpful?