By J.M. Ledgard

Submergence is a novel by the writer J.M. Ledgard. In this site we want to add a few thoughts and images which circled around the book as it was being written – and afterwards. We hope you enjoy.


Amazon US   Amazon UK


"The best novel I have read all year. Ledgard shows us the emergency lighting of our internal universe, and the alien vastness of the outer one. I started Submergence one afternoon, cut short a social event that evening to keep reading, stepped off a train at midnight with twenty pages left, and stood under a light on the platform to finish them."  New York Magazine July 8th Kathryn Schulz

"Every once in a while, a critic will be mesmerized by a book that stands out from — even wipes the floor with — all other books that have come his way of late. J.M. Ledgard’s “Submergence” is that kind of book." Minneapolis Star Tribune April 11th Malcom Forbes

"The influence of the great German original WG Sebald breathes through the book, yet this is to Ledgard’s advantage. There is no disputing that Ledgard is an elegant, determinedly intellectual and disciplined writer, yet there is also immense humanity in this novel, which deserves to be one of the strongest challengers for this year’s Man Booker Prize. Fiction at its finest recognises no boundaries, and here is an artist’s novel that achieves the ultimate goal of any writer: it makes us pause and think, and think again."   The Irish Times Jul 16th Eileen Battersby

"At once precise and flexible, Submergence is a hard-edged, ultracontemporary work about people a reader cares for, apart and together, through extraordinarily precarious conditions. Ledgard gives glimpses of very strange life indeed. Out of this, acute understandings emerge." The New York Times Jun 7th Floyd Skloot

"Submergence is writing of awesome power. In a profound meditation on cruelty, pity, belief, art, science, hope, love and mortality, the novel's truths settle in your consciousness, perhaps never to be forgotten" The Independent June 9th Toby Litt

"J.M. Ledgard's Submergence wonderfully superimposes two seemingly irreconcilable worlds. There is much about this strange book that is hard to understand, which makes it all the more worthy of exploration." Wall Street Journal May 24th Sam Sacks

More reviews

  • More Reviews

    "Combining meditative beauty with brutal geopolitics, Ledgard’s extraordinary novel balances us between compassion and violence, tranquility and fear, possibility and destruction. We stare down the barrel of a gun, we feel the pressure build as we descend to the greatest depths, and we trust the touch of someone who was until very recently a total stranger. SUBMERGENCE is a breathtaking vision of life stretched between its extremes. We are immersed, and we feel the weight of the world all around us.” Elliott Bay Booksellers Feb 10

    "A world-spanning spy story, a hyper-literary novel, Submergence succeeds, and is immensely pleasurable, because Ledgard’s magnetic north is… such an uncanny, inhuman and deathly place. It is a point far below the familiar sea, at the very bottom of the ocean; it is "the hadopelagic, the Hadal deep, from the Greek Hades, meaning unseen". This is where we consciousness-addicted human beings are heading as millennial gravity pulls us down. "It will be a submergence. You will take your place in the boiling-hot fissures, among the teeming hordes of nameless micro-organisms that mimic no forms, because they are the foundation of all forms." Including, in some unfathomable way, the form of this wonderful novel."  New Statesman Aug 8th, Toby Litt

    "It’s the only fiction I’ve read in the last few years that has left me open mouthed. Here are the kind of revelations that can make our heads hurt. Its central idea, brilliantly articulated, is that when it comes to geopolitics, the human body, our importance on the planet, the dark seething depths of the Atlantic Ocean, and the equally inscrutable contents of our own hearts, we really don’t know the half of it." Word Magazine Nov 1st, David Hepworth

    "It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read. With great subtlety and care Submergence serves as an excellent representation of these little wars spanning our globe in current times -open-ended, messy and uncertain of anything but that time presses on." Sep 6th, Matt Gallagher

    "There are layers and depths to this short novel that only surface after the last page has been read, and it has been set aside and that leave you reaching for it to start reading again." New York Journal of Books Sep 12th, Tony Bailie

    "Submergence rings with authenticity and pin-point detail. More’s hellish, knife-edge ordeal drives the book forward with a morbid pace: I read it in two sittings. If there’s any justice in the world this novel will at least be nominated for a major literary award." The Scotsman Aug 14th, Tim Cornwell

    "From the icy depths of the Greenland Sea to the sweltering plains of a Somali Islamist training camp, Ledgard’s masterful second novel is a beautifully crafted, rigorously researched, and deeply affecting love story." Monocle Sep 1st, Steve Bloomfield

    "Like any truly accomplished work of fiction, Submergence defies genre: part love story, part adventure, but much else. It’s a strange, beguiling and brave book. Highly recommended." Times Flow Stemmed Jul 30th,