Talk Under Water

Kathryn Lomer

Talk Under Water
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Talk Under Water

Kathryn Lomer

Will and Summer meet online and strike up a friendship based on coincidence. Summer lives in Will’s old hometown, Kettering, a small Tasmanian coastal community. Summer isn’t telling the whole truth about herself, but figures it doesn’t matter if they never see each other in person, right?

When Will returns to Kettering, the two finally meet and Summer can no longer hide her secret - she is deaf. Can Summer and Will find a way to be friends in person even though they speak a completely different language?


Advancements in communication technology and the explosion of social media platforms have dramatically changed the way young people connect with one another. Maintaining online connections can be to the detriment of face-to-face communication and other diverse social experiences.

Will and Summer, characters in Kathryn Lomer’s novel Talk Under Water, find different channels for connection that open them up to real experiences in the great outdoors. Their friendship develops as they follow Jessica Watson’s blog in her attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. As Will and Summer share posts on Watson’s website they discover that they are neighbours from the same town in coastal Tasmania. Chatting online may be smooth sailing but meeting in person brings complications as Will discovers that Summer is deaf.

Will is determined to bridge the communication divide and dedicates himself to learning sign language. The relationship that develops brings together their eclectic interests in fishing, sailing, photography and animal rescue. Not everybody is onboard, however, and Will’s best friend Cully proves a disruptive influence as he (he or she?) seeks to sabotage this relationship.

This is a story about navigating one’s own course against the tide of social conformity and meeting life head on.

Natalie Platten works as a bookseller at Readings Malvern.

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