Below Deck (Hardback)Sophie Hardcastle (author)
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When 21-year-old Oli sets sail from Australia she embarks on a trip that will open her eyes to life's possibilities. Some years later, fluent in the language of the ocean, she is the only female crew member on-board a yacht delivery to New Zealand. There, in the darkness below deck, she learns something new: at sea, no one can hear you scream.
Below Deck is about the moments that haunt us, that fan out like ripples through the deep. It is a novel about the vagaries of consent, about who has the space to speak and who is believed.
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 450 g
Dimensions: 220 x 140 x 30 mm
her prose is often consolingly gorgeous, combining Oli's synesthesia and innate empathy with the elements to mesmeric effect. * Daily Mail *
vividly realised and richly detailed . . . Below Deck goes beyond colourful descriptions of people and places into the realm of total sensory experience for the characters and the reader. * Good Reading *
Below Deck is a stunning literary novel. This is a poetic work that can be read aloud just as easily as it can be read in silence. * Australian Book Review *
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 (author of LOST & FOUND)
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 (bestselling author of EGGSHELL SKULL)
Below Deck will leave you breathless. Sophie Hardcastle is a phenomenal, courageous talent. -- Clementine Ford (author of FIGHT LIKE A GIRL)
A novel that speaks implicitly but never didactically to the trauma of the #MeToo age . . . an astonishing achievement -- Sir Jonathan Bate
The free-flowing intensity of the wind and waves that drives her characters' lives, also powers Sophie Hardcastle's memorable prose. Her writing sweeps us through hemispheres and across oceans with astonishing and immersive force. This is a deeply moving story of a young woman growing up, and Hardcastle is an extraordinary talent. -- Elleke Boehmer (University of Oxford)
How do we tell the story of ourselves when language fails us? With glorious colour, Sophie Hardcastle answers in her gutsy and vivid debut, Below Deck. Her synesthetic heroine, Olivia, experiences the world in pigments: a beloved friend is "velvet lilac", the number three is "uneasy green". Years after a fateful sailing voyage, the memory of a red encounter - deepest red - smoulders away. As timely as it is evocative, Below Deck's polychromatic depiction of trauma and its aftermath speaks to how women learn to inhabit their bodies and the world, and how those dark lessons can be triumphantly unlearned. -- Beejay Silcox, Australian literary critic
Tender, moving, frightening. This is an author unafraid to leave an absence for the unsaid; unafraid of silence. She never tells us too much but leaves space in our imagination for us to connect the dots and complete the story ourselves. -- Cass Moriarty (author of THE PROMISE SEED)
This [Below Deck] is a masterpiece. Breathtaking, gripping, haunting and so beautifully crafted that I continually found myself re-reading pages and paragraphs just to relive their glory. Its author, Sophie Hardcastle, is not even 30. Frankly, her talent is frightening. -- Georgie Dent (author of BREAKING BADLY)
Below Deck is an achievement of considerable power, not the least because of its ability to balance so many elements of the literary craft.
The writing is poetic yet accessible - remarkably, it is a quick read. The story is harrowing yet human. The characters, even the minor ones, are alive on the page, yet are serving Hardcastle's higher purpose, which is very definitely a political one.
Sophie Hardcastle has the ability to shift the perceptions of her readers, even - especially - her male ones. What a gift.
Hardcastle's new novel, Below Deck, is about women, their bodies and the landscape; it is also about sexual violence and assault, trauma, and how survival can lie in reclaiming your own story. [...] Colours ripple through the novel's prose; shades give new dimensions to experiences. * Sydney Morning Herald *
a novel humming with tension between beautiful prose and uncomfortable questions * New Zealand Herald *
Such a captivating read that felt familiar and was also really powerful. You won't be able to put it down. * Mamamia.com.au *
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