Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armfield. Flatiron Books, 2022. 240 pages. $16.73, paperback.

Our Wives Under The Sea is the lesbian ocean horror book I didn’t know I needed. Julia Armfield’s brilliant debut novel centers around the relationship between Miri and her wife Leah, after Leah returns from a six month deep sea submarine mission which was only supposed to last three weeks. While Leah was under, Miri was unable to communicate with her or even confirm she was still alive. While she is relieved her wife returns, Miri soon discovers that the ocean has changed Leah. Though they spend all their time together in the same apartment, Leah is unable to really connect with Miri about what happened and spends all of her time running the taps in their bathroom. As we move through the novel, each section titled after one of the four layers of the ocean, we alternate between Miri and Leah’s perspectives, learning about the intricacies of their relationship, the grief that comes from the loss of intimacy, and the truth about what Leah experienced under the sea.

Not only is this book a beautiful exploration of queer longing between two women, it’s also about the queer longing which has always been deeply tied to the sea. The whole novel works to beautifully highlight and reaffirm the many truths of the ocean. The ocean is shelter. The ocean is dangerous. The ocean is possibility. The ocean is a haunted house. The ocean is queer. The ocean is our mother. These truths and this book broke me open and I encourage you all to let it do the same for you.

—Gen Greer, MAR