Swimming Home by Deborah Levy

TalkBooker Prize

Join LibraryThing to post.

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Jul 28, 2012, 8:45am

This thread is for reviews and discussion of Swimming Home by Deborah Levy, which was selected for the 2012 Booker Prize longlist.

Aug 3, 2012, 12:01pm

My review:

Swimming Home is set in a villa in the French Riviera, where poet Joe Jacobs is vacationing with his wife, Isabel, his daughter, Nina, and their friends, Mitchell and Laura. Everything seems perfectly idyllic until a strange girl named Kitty Finch is found swimming naked in the villa's pool. Kitty pretends to believe that the villa was hers for the week, and Isabel invites her to stay. In reality, Kitty has sought out Joe, who she worships, to look at one of her poems. This lie is just the first in a series of secrets and deceptions that drive Swimming Home forward.

Levy makes some interesting choices here, in her writing. Characters frequently believe outlandish things - for example, Kitty is initially mistaken for a bear, dead in the pool, and when Nina goes missing, the adults assume she has been kidnapped, when really she is merely asleep. Kitty is frequently accused of being crazy, but the gullibility and tendency to expect the worst of all the characters makes the entire cast seem a bit off their rockers. Next-door neighbour Dr. Sheridan, caretaker Jurgen, and local Casanova Claude round out the novel with more insanity. Add to this a writing style that is dreamy and trance-like, and Swimming Home feels a bit like that warped picture you get when you open your eyes underwater and look up at the world.

Swimming Home is an excellent book, and I am thankful the Booker judges brought it to my attention.

4.5 stars

Aug 4, 2012, 10:05am

Nice review of Swimming Home, Cait. I'll probably read it in the next week or two, once I receive my copy.

Aug 12, 2012, 9:04am

I finished Swimming Home this morning, and I also thought it was excellent. And, I agree Kitty may have been the person who was most obviously crazy, but none of the others were exactly paragons of mental stability. The choices the characters made throughout the book were fascinating and sometimes disturbing, and the book as a whole had a palpable tension that made it nearly impossible to put down. I loved her writing style as well, and several excerpts made me pause in appreciation.

I'll write a proper review of it later this week.

Aug 18, 2012, 10:53pm

Nice review Cait86. I have nothing to add . . .
I rated it 4.5 also.

Aug 25, 2012, 6:02am

Hmm, Cait, I may need to read Swimming Home . Great review!

Sep 9, 2012, 5:35pm

4 or 4.5 stars for me, I haven't decided yet. I enjoyed this novel more as it went on and didn't fully appreciate it as a whole until I finished it. I wouldn't be surprised either way regarding its inclusion on the shortlist.