Julia Armfield – Our Wives Under the Sea (2022)

Our Wives Under the Sea is the type of book that appeals to me; there’s a creepy gothic element, body horror and social commentary.

Miri’s wife Leah goes on an underwater exhibition and disappears for six months. When she finally arrives she is displaying unusual behaviour such as staying in the bathtub for extended periods of time. All of this is documented by Miri. Leah has her own chapters in which she describes what happened to her during the expedition.

Eventually Miri finds herself in a catch-22 situation and must take a decision which could be considered the right choice.

Like most modern horror, there is social commentary lurking. On one hand you can see it as how society view same sex marriages, well in tis case it’s a lesbian one. As Miri tells her story she mentions the obstacles and preconceptions lesbian couples should follow.

On the other hand Our Wives Under the Sea is about the sacrifices we have to got through for someone that we genuinely love; Leah is getting worse and yet miri does her utmost to accommodate her. as I stated earlier, the decision Miri has to take is a sign of her love for Leah.

That is not to say that this is more social commentary than horror. When it is scary, the book can be frightening, a couple of scenes did make me jump.

Our Wives Under the Sea is excellent, my review is scanty because I would like the reader to approach this book with as little knowledge as possible – that way one can appreciate the way the novel unfolds. It’s definitely one of those novels that have a punch yet also manages to be subtle and leave room for long term reflection.

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