Review: Below Deck by Sophie Hardcastle

9781760876388“I scream not in the way the damsel in distress screams from the tower. I scream the way tectonic plates tear apart on the ocean floor, silt and sand and cracked rock. Lava spewing from the abyss. Hot lava spewing from me. I roar.”

Sophie Hardcastle’s Below Deck is the kind of book that cracks open your heart, then knits it back together,  leaving you scarred. It sears a place in your memory, not only because of its characters and the legacy of trauma experienced by its protagonist, but because of Hardcastle’s luminous prose and quite brilliant implementation of colour. The savagery of its subject belies the beauty of its writing. It’s a powerful, unforgettable synthesis; a painfully page-turning read, a vividly three-dimensional, lacerating dissection of female abuse at the hands of men.

Below Deck charts several years in the life Olivia; from waking up on a boat as a twenty-one year old, with no recollection of how she got there, which introduces her TO Mac and Ollie, who will become the two most important people in her life; to four years later, when she works among a group of men on a yacht sailing from Noumea to Auckland, where she experiences below deck; to her time in London, when the events of that day continue to haunt and resonate.

Fierce, poetic and uncompromising. There’s a lot of hype surrounding Sophie Hardcastle’s Below Deck. It’s warranted.

ISBN: 9781760876388
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 296
Available: 3rd March 2020
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication: AU