Skip to main content

Thirst for Salt

Madelaine Lucas


A gorgeously written novel set over the course of one life-changing summer in an isolated Australian coastal town

Adrift during the summer after she finishes college, a young woman takes a holiday with her mother in the rugged Australian coastal town of Sailor’s Beach. As she searches for something, anything, to anchor her in the face of an uncertain future, Jude arrives. Jude, an older man who offers her the stability she craves. Jude, who will change everything.

Many years later, as questions about past and present gain a new urgency, she looks back on the summer that shaped her and the woman she yearned to become.

Hypnotic and sensual, headily atmospheric, Madelaine Lucas’ debut is a beautiful story about a young woman at a crossroads, pulled between loyalty to her family, and a longing for a life of her own.


  • Publication date: March 9, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780861544752
  • RRP: £6.99
  • Pages:


'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.'

Leslie Jamison, author of The Recovering

'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 The Folded Clock

'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, author of The Torn Skirt

Madelaine Lucas

Author page

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletters to find out more about our latest books and offers, straight to your inbox.
Select mailing lists