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Thirst for Salt : A novel - Madelaine Lucas

Thirst for Salt

A novel

By: Madelaine Lucas

Paperback | 4 April 2023

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A compelling and unforgettable debut novel by an acclaimed young Australian writer – a mesmerising story of desire and its complexities and a powerful reckoning with memory, loss and longing.

'A hypnotic story of lost love and the melancholy nature of memory . . . a remarkable new literary voice.' - Rebecca Starford, author of The Imitator

'A love affair so richly and attentively imagined it carries the grace and gravity of memory itself.' - Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

It's hard to remember now that I was once that girl, lying in the sand in my red swimsuit and swimming late into the day. Sharkbait, he called me.

She first sees him in the water: a local man almost twenty years her senior. Adrift in the summer after finishing university, a young woman is on holiday with her mother in an isolated Australian coastal town. Finding herself pulled to Jude, the man in the water, she begins losing herself in the simple, seductive rhythms of his everyday life.

As their relationship deepens, life at Sailors Beach offers her the stability she has been craving as the daughter of two drifters - a loving but impulsive mother and an itinerant father. But the arrival of Maeve, a friend from Jude's past, threatens to rock their fragile, newfound intimacy. And when she witnesses something she doesn't fully understand, she finds herself questioning everything - about Jude, about herself, about the life she has and the one she wants.

A magnetic and unforgettable story of desire and its complexities, and a powerful reckoning with memory, loss and longing, Madelaine Lucas's debut novel reveals with stunning, sensual immediacy the way the past can hold us in its thrall, shaping who we are and what we love.

About the Author

Madelaine Lucas was born in Melbourne in 1990 and raised in Sydney as the daughter of a visual artist and a rock 'n' roll musician. In 2015, she moved to New York to complete her MFA in fiction at Columbia University, where she now teaches in the graduate and undergraduate writing programs. She is a senior editor of the literary annual NOON and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her dog, Pancho. Thirst for Salt is her first novel.
Industry Reviews
'This novel is a beautiful, melancholy tide. I felt inexorably pulled to it, and by it. Lucas is a brilliant conjurer of emotional and bodily longing. I felt, while avidly turning the pages, that briny tightness of the skin, as though I'd sat in the hot sun after an ocean swim. Thirst for Salt is a sensuous, visceral debut.' - Heidi Julavits, author of Women in Clothes

'Thirst for Salt is an exquisite, magnificent gem of a book. While Madelaine Lucas's style is delicate and spare, her story is one of searing power—the story of a young woman's exploration of the fraught, often dangerous, forces of love, motherhood, art, and wilderness. Thirst for Salt is a revelation, with a quietly radical view of female desire and independence, and Lucas is a brilliant new voice—compassionate, daring, heartbreaking. It's no surprise that she is also an acclaimed musician, for this debut novel is full of verve and beauty, and it stays with you like a charged, lingering melody.' - Rebecca Godfrey, bestselling author of Under the Bridge

'Madelaine Lucas's Thirst for Salt gripped me immediately, with the tender acuity of its voice and the propulsive electricity of the relationship at its core: a love affair so richly and attentively imagined it carries the grace and gravity of memory itself. It's a novel whose momentum emerges not from melodrama but from the primal mysteries of human intimacy: How do people come together and come apart? Every once in a while, a novel enters my life that I know is destined to become part of my bloodstream. Thirst for Salt is one of those novels and I'm so excited to think of it finding its way to readers who will be changed by it.' - Leslie Jamison, author of Make It Scream, Make It Burn

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Published: 4th April 2023

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