Madelaine Lucas

Madelaine Lucas is a senior editor of NOON and teaches fiction at Columbia University. She is from Sydney, Australia, and lives in Brooklyn.


  • Lush and gorgeous. . . . a delicious read, beautifully written and emotionally satisfying.

    —The New York Times Book Review

  • Sensuous and bittersweet. . . . It offers an honest, often beautiful reminder of the overwhelming emotions that all of us have felt but spend most of our daily lives trying to subdue.

    —The Wall Street Journal

  • Lucas’ meditation on relationships is masterful. . . . [her] portrayal of love and desire exerts a wonderful pull.

    —Kirkus Reviews

  • A mesmerizing portrait of a romance with graceful, seductive writing. . . . This novel has a sea glass quality—time-worn, beautiful, worth holding onto.


  • Luscious and melancholy. . . . Sensual and electric.

    —Foreword Reviews, Starred Review

  • Mesmerizing. . . . Lucas’ rolling, gleaming, beguiling prose is saturated with desire.


  • Both sensual and heartbreaking.

    —The Adroit Journal

  • Intelligent. . . . Lucas
    keenly captures the relationship’s slow erosion, as well as the
    narrator’s ability to make sense of her past while looking back on it.
    The author’s psychological acuity will keep readers piqued.

    —Publishers Weekly

  • Lucas is a wonderful writer.


  • Captivating. . . . this debut novel about a long-ago love affair revels in the lyrical language that describes its rugged landscape and the emotional intensity of new love.

    —Shelf Awareness

  • Timeless. . . . an atmospheric beach-escape of a novel.

    —Chicago Review of Books

  • Seductive and tender. . . . an engrossing page-turner.

    —Debutiful, A Best Debut Book of 2023 So Far

  • Simple and direct but wise and textured, letting you linger on sandy legs, salty breezes, jellyfish stings, slipping swimsuit straps, silver temples, and the push and pull of doomed affair.

    —The Philadelphia Inquirer

  • Profound. . . . Lucas writes with a poetic precision that captures the sharp and mellow edges of love, as well as its intersections with grief.


  • Addictive. . . . Lucas has drawn a richly psychological study of love that doesn’t rely on clichés or standard power imbalances.


  • With shades of Françoise Sagan, this debut novel explores the complexities of young seduction, love, and the unending desire for connection.


  • Mesmerizing, sensuous, and lyrical.

    —Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books Podcast

  • Gorgeous. . . . a surprisingly earnest though never sentimental story of first love.

    —Washington Independent Review of Books

  • Deeply beautiful writing and layered thematics. Fans of Marguerite Duras, Joan Didion, Jean Rhys, and Raymond Carver will find some fun literary allusions to explore. . . . This is fiction to be savored.

    —Necessary Fiction

  • Richly imagined, lyrically rendered, and stunningly sensuous.

    —The Millions

  • Reading Lucas’s novel is an intimate act, as the narrator’s wise, emotionally perceptive observations create a world rich and vivid enough to live in.


  • 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, bestselling author of Under the Bridge

  • 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

  • Madelaine Lucas’s 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. It’s a novel whose momentum emerges not from melodrama but from the primal mysteries of human intimacy: How do people come together and come apart? Every once in a while, a novel enters my life that I know is destined to become part of my bloodstream. Thirst for Salt is one of those novels and I’m so excited to think of it finding its way to readers who will be changed by it.

    —Leslie Jamison