In at the Deep End

In at the Deep End

by Kate Davies

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A fresh, funny, audacious debut novel about a Bridget Jones–like twenty-something who discovers that she may have simply been looking for love — and, ahem, pleasure — in all the wrong places (aka: from men) 

 

Julia hasn’t had sex in three years. Her roommate has a boyfriend—and their sex noises are audible through the walls, maybe even throughout the neighborhood. Not to mention, she’s treading water in a dead-end job, her know-it-all therapist gives her advice she doesn’t ask for, and the men she is surrounded by are, to be polite, subpar. Enough is enough. 

 

So when Julia gets invited to a warehouse party in a part of town where “trendy people who have lots of sex might go on a Friday night”—she readily accepts. Whom she meets there, however, is surprising: a conceptual artist, also a woman. 

 

Julia’s sexual awakening begins; her new lesbian life, as she coins it, 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 unforgettably frank, funny, and racy odyssey through the pitfalls and seductions we encounter on the treacherous—and more often, absurd—path to love and self. 

Available Resources

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  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328628657

  • ISBN-10: 1328628655

  • Pages: 336

  • Price: $12.99

  • Publication Date: 06/04/2019

  • Carton Quantity: 1

K
Author

Kate Davies

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.
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  • reviews

    *A Finalist for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction* 

    *One of iBooks' 2019 Most Anticipated Books*  

    *A Publishers Marketplace Buzz Book* 

     

    “[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" 

     

    “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 

     

    "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." 

    Guardian (UK) 

     

    "[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." 

    Kirkus Reviews 

     

    "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…" 

    Stylist (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." 

    Grazia (UK)  

     

    "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) 

  • excerpts

    Sex Noises 

    One Saturday morning last January, Alice pointed out that I hadn’t had sex in three years. I knew I’d been going through a dry patch—I’d been getting through vibrator batteries incredibly fast, and a few days previously I’d Googled “penis” just to remind myself what one looked like—but the full force of how much time I’d wasted not having sex hadn’t hit me till then. 

     

    The last time I’d had sex was nothing to write home about either, let me tell you. He was a twenty-one-year-old editorial assistant from Alice’s office with an unusually large forehead, and it happened after a terrible house party that left our flat stinking of pastis. I tried to take him to my room, but a couple were already in there, dry-humping on top of the duvet, so we did it on the fake leather sofa in the living room. I kept getting stuck to the sofa, sweat pooling in the gap beneath my lower back. I don’t think he’d ever fucked anyone before, so it was a bit awkward and thrusty, and he cried and hugged me for too long afterwards. It comes back to me in flashes all the time—I could be boarding a bus, washing my hair, or sitting on a particularly squeaky sofa when suddenly I see his clenched red face or his sweaty pubic hair and flinch involuntarily. Enough to put anyone off sex for, say, three years. 

     

    To be honest, I’d always preferred the idea of sex to sex itself. In my imagination, I was experimental, confident, uninhibited, a biter of shoulders, a user of words like “pussy.” I could think about sex in the filthiest terms and speak frankly about it to friends, but when it came to actually doing it, or talking to someone I might do it with, I clammed up. I struggled to think of myself as sexy when I was with another person. I struggled to say sexy things with a straight face. It all felt performative to me, ridiculous, too far removed from the way I behaved in a non-sexy context, like I was playing a part in a porn film, and playing it badly. I couldn’t even flirt convincingly, certainly not when I was sober. Which might go some way towards explaining why it had been so long since I’d fucked anyone. 

     

    Alice and Dave, on the other hand, did have sex. A surprising amount of it, actually, considering they’d been going out for five years. The Friday night before that Saturday morning, I was alone in the living room, trying to ignore the sex noises coming from their bedroom. Our flat had incredibly thin walls, so it was almost as if I were there with them. How can something that is so much fun when you’re doing it (though not always ?— ?see previous note about sweaty sofa sex) be so repulsive when overheard? I didn’t mind living with a couple; having three people in the flat brought the rent down. Also, Dave had several Ottolenghi cookbooks and some very tasteful mid-century furniture, so we were better fed and more stylish than we would have been without him. But sex-noise-wise, I’d had 

    enough. 

     

      

    The next morning, I heard Alice walk Dave to the door. They whispered to each other revoltingly and kissed wetly. I sat on my bed, picking the dry skin on my fingers, practising my speech in my head. 

    Alice walked into my room without knocking; people tend to do that when there’s no risk you’ll be shagging. She sat on my bed, her hair rumpled, a post-coital smile on her face. “Do you fancy brunch?” she said. “I’m starving.” 

     

    “I’m not surprised,” I said, which wasn’t how I’d intended to broach the subject. 

     

    “What?” 

     

    “Nothing.” 

     

    “Why aren’t you surprised? What do you mean?” 

     

    “Well, you and Dave sounded like you had fun last night.” 

     

    “You listened to us having sex?” 

     

    “I didn’t listen. I heard. It wasn’t an active choice.” 

     

    “We weren’t that loud,” said Alice, as though asking for reassurance. 

     

    “You asked him to—” 

     

    “To what?” 

     

    I looked away. “You know what you asked him to do.” 

     

    “How do I know if you won’t say?” 

     

    “Fine. You asked him to stick a finger up your arse.” 

     

    “Julia!” 

     

    “You’re the one that said it!” 

     

    “That’s private!” 

     

    “So keep your voices down!” 

     

    Alice’s cheeks were pink. 

     

    There was an unpleasant silence. 

     

    “Did you really hear us?” 

     

    “Yes! I always hear you!” 

     

    “You can’t always hear us. We don’t even have sex that often any more—” 

     

    “Three times a week isn’t often?” 

     

    “Not for us.” 

     

    “Well. I’m very happy for you.” 

     

    Another silence. 

    “You wouldn’t care so much if you had a boyfriend too.” 

     

    “I don’t want a boyfriend, thank you.”

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328628657

  • ISBN-10: 1328628655

  • Pages: 336

  • Price: $12.99

  • Publication Date: 06/04/2019

  • Carton Quantity: 1

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