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The Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant

The Night Swimmer

by Matt Bondurant

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I was disappointed in this. It felt very kitchen-sink-y what with the ghosts and the feuds and the alcohol and the bad parenting and the flirtation and the swimming and the mystical goat.

I think there's a very good book in there somewhere. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
The sense of place is so strong in this book that it is a character unto itself, perhaps the steadiest of the narrative. Regardless of the beautiful sentences, I found myself struggling to understand the events as they were described. What started as a very promising story left me confused by the end. ( )
  Lcwilson45 | Jun 21, 2015 |
When Elly Bulkington's husband Fred wins a contest that gives them a pub in Ireland, they move to the town of Baltimore in Cork County and try to make a go of running the Nightjar. What they don't know is that they're smack in the middle of small town politics and a small population that doesn't always take kindly to newcomers.

This sometimes poetically written book is much more about Elly, our narrator, and what she sees in the people and the unique geography and history of Baltimore, Clear Island, and the lighthouse on Fastnet than any kind of real plot. It's meandering and slow until you get kind of deep into it, and heaven help you if you don't particularly care for Elly or Fred. Elly is a long-distance open water swimmer and has a special condition - an added layer of fat in her skin that - allows her to brave colder water than most. Fred is wrapped up in the idea of writing a novel, though he doesn't particularly seem to get anything done. Though Elly describes their relationship in Vermont as a very close one (almost to the point of neediness), the cracks begin to show after their arrival in Ireland. They still seem somewhat stuck in party mode, getting drunk or high rather regularly, and expecting things to just fall into place for them or ignoring problems instead of working hard. The Prologue sets you up for something bad to happen, and I spent most of the book wondering what that was going to be; I'm still kind of confused about what happened. ( )
  bell7 | Sep 15, 2014 |
The title character Elly, a Vermonter who moves to Ireland after she and her husband win a pub in a contest. While her marriage slowly erodes, she spends most of her time swimming in the open water off the coast of southern Ireland. This story isn't heavy on plot: it's mostly about the characters of Elly and her husband Fred and the villagers they try to get to know.

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

For my longer review, see http://mswordopolis.blogspot.com/2012/01/night-swimmer-by-matt-bondurant.html. ( )
  rkreish | Mar 31, 2013 |
I’m not going to outline the book’s plot because the inexorable unfolding of events contributes so much to the impact of this atmospheric, contemporary gothic. I’ll just say that the Ireland of The Night Swimmer has more in common with the feudal Ireland of the past or the mystical, myth-shrouded Ireland of the early saints than with the quirky Ireland of Ballykissangel, say, or the cozy Ireland of Maeve Binchy’s fiction.
The Night Swimmer would be great for a book group because it could spark spirited discussions of how the author intended the reader to interpret this part of the story or that, and also more lofty talk of chance, fate, predestination, national character, love, family, and human nature.
This was the first book I’ve read by the author of The Third Translation and The Wettest County in the World, but it really impressed me and I would like to read more. Its descriptive language, first-person point of view, and the subtle undercurrents of meaning make The Night Swimmer an ideal audiobook, especially with the right narrator. If you’re wondering whether to listen to it or read it, I recommend listening to it!
Read complete review at Bay State Reader's Advisory blog. ( )
  baystateRA | Dec 28, 2012 |
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A suspenseful novel about a young American couple--Elly and Fred--who win a pub on the southern most tip of Ireland and discover the body of an eccentric villager Elly knows floating in the sea. Was it a suicide?

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