Below Deck is the highly anticipated debut novel from author Sophie Hardcastle. A heartbreakingly poetic and haunting story about the vagaries of consent, about who has the space to speak and who is believed.
And then, just like that, a thought bubbles inside me. It's a beginning; a new beginning; my beginning. The beginning of the story I tell myself in order to survive.
We choose to breathe, don't we?
Twenty-one-year-old Olivia hears the world in colour, but her life is mottled grey. Estranged from her parents, and living with her grandfather who is drowning in sadness, Oli faces the reality of life beyond university alone.
When she wakes on a boat with no recollection of how she got there, she accepts the help of two strangers who change the course of her future forever. With Mac and Maggie, Oli learns to navigate a life upon open ocean and the world flowers into colours she's never seen before.
Four years later, Oli, fluent in the language of the sea, is the only woman among men on a yacht delivery from Noumea to Auckland. In the darkness below deck, she learns that at sea, no one can hear you scream.
Moving to London, Oli's life at sea is buried. When she meets Hugo, the wind changes, and her memories are dust blown into shapes. Reminding her of everything.
Below Deck is about the moments that haunt us, the moments that fan out like ripples through the deep. So that everything else, becomes everything after.
'Lyrical, profound, and deeply moving Sophie Hardcastle's Below Deck will confront as well as soothe, and is the most tender, hopeful battle-cry of a book.' - Brooke Davis
'Hardcastle has captured the powerful words so many of us struggle to find, and I cannot imagine anyone could finish Below Deck unaffected.' - Bri Lee
'Below Deck will leave you breathless. Sophie Hardcastle is a phenomenal, courageous talent.' - Clementine Ford
Sophie Hardcastle was born in 1993. She is an author, artist, screenwriter and scholar. In 2018, she was a Provost's Scholar in English Literature at Worcester College, at the University of Oxford, where she wrote Below Deck. In 2017, Sophie was an artist-in-residence with Chimu Adventures in Antarctica. Sophie is the author of the critically acclaimed Running Like China (2015) and Breathing Under Water (2016). She is the co-creator, co-writer and co-director of the online series Cloudy River.
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin
Paperback - C format