In at the Deep End (Paperback)
* A Finalist for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction * One of Autostraddle's Best Queer Books of 2019 *
A deliciously disarming debut novel about a twenty-something Londoner who discovers that she may have been looking for love—and pleasure—in all the wrong places (i.e., from men).
Julia has had enough. Enough of the sex noises her roommate makes. Enough of her dead-end government job. Enough of the one-night stand who accused her of breaking his penis. The only thing she hasn’t had enough of is orgasms; she hasn’t had proper sex in three years.
So when Julia gets invited to a warehouse party in a part of town where trendy people who have lots of sex go on a Friday night, she readily accepts. And that night she meets someone: a figurative artist who also happens to be a woman.
Julia’s sexual awakening begins; her new lesbian life is exhilarating. She finds her tribe at queer swing-dancing classes, and guided by her new lover Sam, she soon discovers London’s gay bars and BDSM clubs—and the complexities of polyamory. Soon it becomes clear that Sam needs to call the shots, and Julia’s newfound liberation comes to bear a suspicious resemblance to entrapment . . .
In at the Deep End is an unforgettable and audacious odyssey through the pitfalls and seductions we encounter on the treacherous path to love and self.
About the Author
KATE DAVIES was born and brought up in north-west London. She studied English at Oxford University before becoming a writer and editor of children’s books. She also writes comedy scripts, and had a short-lived career as a burlesque dancer that ended when she was booed off stage at a Conservative club, dressed as a bingo ball. Kate lives in east London with her wife. In at the Deep End is her debut novel.
*A Finalist for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction*
*One of iBooks' 2019 Most Anticipated Books*
*A Publishers Marketplace Buzz Book*
*One of Autostraddle's Best Queer Books of 2019*
"Everyone must read this book. It's absolutely hilarious and devastating. I've never read something so brilliant."
“[A] raucous and raunchy comedy of (bad) manners.”
—O, the Oprah Magazine, "30 of the Best LGBTQ Books That'll Change the Literary Landscape in 2019"
"Without a doubt, In at the Deep End by Kate Davies, is the afterparty book for anyone looking to extend their 'Fleabag' fun...Davies' book is raucous, sexy, poignant and smart, and is definitely the most fun you will have with lesbian BDSM short of doing it yourself."
—Hadley Freeman, Guardian (UK)
"This laugh out loud funny British tale follows Julia as she discovers she’s been looking for love and pleasure from the wrong place: men. As she explores her new lesbian life, Julia starts dating Sam. What starts out as liberating soon turns dark."
—Autostraddle, "55 of the Best Queer Books of 2019"
"The beauty of this novel is not the copious amounts of beautiful queer intimacy, though that’s also a validating and important part of it. Rather, the beauty of this novel is how adeptly Davies captures the surreal experience of coming out and being out of one’s depth—and she manages to do it with humility and a good deal of humor, to boot...We need stories like these in the world. We need raw stories of how challenging and fun and beautiful and complicated and obsessive this love can be. We need visibility for abuse within queer relationships. And we need levity, for God’s sake, we do. Thank goodness this novel exists. We can expect great things from Kate Davies."
—Lambda Literary Review
“Not since Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance has a piece of art so perfectly captured the exhilarating rush and sweet self-sabotage of a toxic relationship and the cruel truth that sometimes love and obsession are hard to tell apart. Rah rah ah-ah-ah!”
—Camille Perri, author of The Assistants and When Katie Met Cassidy
"I read In at the Deep End in a laughing (sometimes cringing) flash and then handed it to my wife who did the same. And then we talked and talked about it. (And then we made out.)"
—Emily M. Danforth, author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post
"A sapphic sexual odyssey...In this energetically explicit new take on the coming-of-age lesbian novel, Julia is a 26-year-old civil servant who wants a more exciting sex life...You can feel the influences here – Fleabag and Girls – but weirdly enough the strongest voice is Bridget Jones."
“This is a book about sex — and lots of it. Julia breaks a long dry spell with an awakening at a party; she doesn't like men and never has. She dives head-first into her new lesbian identity and has lots of adventures. The sweet, clever novel places a woman's sexual coming-of-age on a pedestal.”
—Refinery29, “35 Outstanding LGBTQ+ Books Of 2019”
"In equal parts side-splittingly hilarious and brutally honest, In at the Deep Endis the story of a twenty-something young woman making her first foray into queer social circles as a newly realized lesbian. Sex, drugs, and shenanigans ensue; and in between it all your heart will break and heal, and break and heal. It’s basically Bridget Jones’ Diary for millennial lesbians."
—Books Are Magic, "The Best Books You’ll Read All Summer!"
“Fabulous…By far the best feature of In at the Deep End is the first-person voice. Self-aware, clever, sardonic, and incredibly funny, Julia can make getting tea at her numbingly dull job into a comedy of errors. And like a good stand-up routine, the story opens with easy jokes and then uses humor to discuss serious topics…The novel does not bend and bow to societal pressure to be anything other than what it is: the story of characters so real the reader will forget that these are not their real-life friends. In this way, Davies ushers in a new era of queer fiction, one in which queerness is just one part of a human story. The author is free to explore life with the unselfconscious ease previously afforded only to writers in the sexual majority. Hopefully, Davies will use her brilliant and insightful sense of humor to bring us many more such books.”
—New York Journal of Books
"Look for spot-on insider jokes about trying to 'look gay' after just coming out and trying to catch up on all the queer pop culture references so that you can fit in with your new dyke crowd."
—Autostraddle, "8 Funny Books Featuring Queer Adult Women"
"[An] exceedingly charming debut...Davies' writing is so breezy and effortless—and her characters so delightful—that to spend time in her world is a pleasure. Sweet but never saccharine; a literary rom-com about the importance of knowing yourself."
"This book nails sex. Pardon the phrasing but where a lot of rom-coms fade out at the point of consummation, Kate Davies’ is a frank, very funny and, at times, filthy exploration of sex, love and self-understanding...A frank and brilliant modern-day take on what it’s like to be single or otherwise…"
"Davies's first novel is by turns funny and darkly serious as one young woman finds her sexual footing in a new world."
"Julia hasn’t had sex in three years, her therapist gives her advice she doesn’t ask for, and she’s treading water in a dead-end job. But when she meets a woman at a warehouse party, her sexual awakening begins."
—Bustle, "After You Watch 'Fleabag,' Pick Up These 11 Books"
"An utterly original, hilarious and ultimately unsettling novel about a young lesbian's sexual awakening."
—Francesca Simon, The Times (UK)
"After a series of unsatisfying encounters with men, Julia realises that, actually, she's very probably a lesbian. What follows is a deep dive into her new identity via an LGBTQ swing dance club and a burgeoning relationship with an artist called Sam. But men don't have the copyright on toxicity, as Julia soon discovers in this funny, filthy debut. I alternated between snorting with mirth and clutching my pearls. (Not a euphemism.)"
—Red Magazine (UK), "This month's best books"
"Being properly saucy while having a huge heart is something the best of us aspire to year-round but Davies' debut has managed it and made it look effortless...Fleabag-level dirty jokes, Eleanor Oliphant-levels of empathy and a heroine who feels like your best mate spilling the gossip after two glasses drunk a little too quickly. Fresh, funny and filthy."
"Kate Davies’ debut is funny, frank and more than a little bit filthy, with one of the most cringe-worthy, rage-inducing sex scenes you’ll ever read."
—Emerald Street (UK)