In James Cameron’s 1989 classic horror-thriller, The Abyss, the seasoned crew of an experimental underwater oil-drilling platform are reluctantly recruited by the United States Navy to assist a SEAL team in investigating the mysterious sinking of an American nuclear submarine near the Cayman Trench. Led by foreman Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) and his hypercompetent, stubborn estranged wife Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), the crew endures a variety of harrowing mishaps before ultimately sending Bud into the titular Abyss to disarm a nuclear warhead. Bud (spoiler alert, I guess?) runs out of oxygen in the trench, sending a final text message as Lindsey weeps: DONT CRY BABY. KNEW THIS WAS A ONE WAY TICKET BUT YOU KNOW I HAD TO COME. LOVE YOU WIFE.
“Knew this was a one way ticket but you know I had to come/love you wife” serves as a tidy résumé of Julia Armfield’s saltwater gothic Our Wives Under the Sea, a haunting and masterfully crafted novel of love, loss, lesbians, and sea monsters.