BailCov-Main-WebpageFor forty years, Underwater has remained almost like its title – out of print and under the radar.   Always intending to bring the title back to life, Joan Hawkins has now actualised a long-standing wish:  the Second Edition of Underwater is here, just in time for its fortieth anniversary.

Kate Stevens, a young woman once destined for partnership in a long-standing New York Law Firm, chose marriage to Harry instead, and is the mother of a baby girl, Cam.

A bout with cancer changes Kate’s life, leaving her yearning for a less conventional future.   A girl called Valery St. John exists within Kate, an alter-ego of verve and daring that has long yearned for adventure, lust and achievement – in male terms.

It takes a chance encounter with a beautiful, charismatic artist named Margo to bring Valery, and the alternative lifestyle she represents, to the fore.  Kate’s ensuing affair with the lesbian painter prompts a personal transformation, and proves a crucible for the relationship between herself and Harry.

A stunning and highly charged novel, its depiction of a young woman at a crossroads in her life in a time of massive social and cultural change is both subtle and ground-breaking. Its themes of personal expansion, sexual exploration and feminism blend with a satirical take on the old order of the day, where the gray suits of the WASP power front are being challenged by student protests, racial integration and the emergence of women in the workplace.

UnderwaterWith its daring prose, its depiction of a particularly bohemian slice of New York life that remains as lively  as it was in 1974, Underwater is a coming of age novel with a definite kick.

To read an extract from Underwater, click here

To see this and other titles, see Joan’s Author Page on

First published by G.P. Putnam in 1974, Joan Hawkin’s debut is back
– 40 years on – to astonish readers all over again.

To purchase Underwater on Amazon:  click here