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Publisher's Summary

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. 

©2020 Sophie Hardcastle (P)2020 W. F. Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

 “An astonishing achievement.” (Sir Jonathan Bate, University of Oxford)

What listeners say about Below Deck

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Somewhere between the intersection of feminism and environmentalism lays this amazing story

What a HUGE story, I was hooked and propelled through this book, never wanting to put it down.

Poetic and fierce I am excited to find this author and look forward to future works what a rockstar!

1 person found this helpful

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Fell flat

The main character has virtually no personality and is extremely irritating. Some very cliche moments and repeated lines. The story has purpose in being told but it fell flat for me.

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Raw and haunting story

The character of Ollie and her story will remain with me long after finishing this book. Great aussie author and can’t wait to follow her career as she develops her style.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.