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Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Swimming Lessons (edition 2018)

by Claire Fuller (Author)

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3913139,174 (3.89)14
Title:Swimming Lessons
Authors:Claire Fuller (Author)
Info:Tin House Books (2018), Edition: Reprint, 354 pages
Collections:HPL, To read
Tags:eHPL, HPL

Work details

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

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    Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (Anonymous user)
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    Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Anonymous user)

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Elderly novelist Gil Coleman -- obsessed with collecting used books for the items left inside them (or the marginalia scribbled within) sights his wife Ingrid, who had disappeared years previously. He falls while pursuing her. and his recovery necessitates the arrival of both his daughters, Nan (a professional midwife) and Flora (an artist). -- Interspersed with their interactions are a series of letters that Ingrid wrote years before to her absent husband, detailing their relationship and its deterioration. These she has tucked inside various books in Gil's collection. -- Very interesting, sometimes frustrating, book, quite moving towards the conclusion, with a deliciously ambiguous epilogue. ( )
  David_of_PA | Jul 14, 2018 |
I won't rate it because I didn't get far with this book. It was a book club read and I just wasn't feeling the slow, slow progression into what turns out not to be much. I think the premise of the book is great but I do not think it was well executed. Since I'm a moody reader, maybe I'll try this again later...
  1forthebooks | May 22, 2018 |
I received this book from the publisher, Norton.

This was a wonderful epistolary novel. With one huge caveat. Why, why, WHY do authors think that the only way to illustrate how independent and capable of standing up for themselves a female character is is to put her in a situation that inevitably leads to rape or the possibility of rape? I am really frustrated by this trope and am tired of it.

That aside, I really enjoyed this book. I was never really rooting for any of the characters (especially the men; what a pile of crap most/all of them were), but that allowed me to enjoy the writing style more. Pretty interesting all around. ( )
  gossamerchild88 | Mar 30, 2018 |
I enjoyed this. Another (partly) epistolary; that's like three in a row for me, which is unusual. It reminded me somewhat of [b:The Paris Wife|8683812|The Paris Wife|Paula McLain|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1320545874s/8683812.jpg|13556031] and a lot of [b:Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald|15994634|Z A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald|Therese Anne Fowler|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1396815892s/15994634.jpg|21763986]. The theme of all these being life as the wife of a writer. I had a hard time feeling sympathy for Ingrid, though. This quote from her really summed it up for me: "Everything that's happened I've let happen." It was an interesting story though and made for a nice summertime read. ( )
  Aseleener | Mar 24, 2018 |
Gorgeously written and so, so painful. ( )
  SuziSteffen | Feb 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
British author Fuller’s second novel (Our Endless Numbered Days, 2015) is nimbly told from two alternating perspectives... Fuller’s tale is eloquent, harrowing, and raw, but it’s often muddled by tired, cloying dialogue. And whereas Ingrid shines as a protagonist at large, the supporting characters are lacking in depth.

Simmering with tension, this tragic, albeit imperfect, mystery is sure to keep readers inching off their seats.
The interweaving of these two points of view is a little confusing in the early stages of the novel– at one point, within Ingrid’s narrative, there is a narrative from Gil’s point of view telling the story of their relationship, backwards – and the sections often feel short and choppy. No sooner have we fully engaged with Ingrid’s story than we are back to Flora’s and vice versa, and the tone of the alternating sections doesn’t feel stylistically differentiated. But it’s a measure of the power of Fuller’s writing that these issues don’t diminish our desire to find out how the web of disappearances and reappearances will be untangled.... As you get used to the rhythm of the twin stories and the narrative gathers pace, you turn the pages faster and faster, desperate to know the truth.... Like Fuller’s stunning debut, Swimming Lessons is a story suffused with the poignancy of miscommunication between people who love each other, of the things we can never really know.
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For Henry, Tim and India
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Gil Coleman looked down from the first -floor window of the bookshop and saw his dead wife standing on the pavement below.
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Book description
In this spine-tingling tale Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but she never sends them. Instead she hides them within the thousands of books her husband has collected. After she writes her final letter, Ingrid disappears.

Twelve years later, her adult daughter, Flora comes home to look after her injured father. Secretly, Flora has never believed her mother is dead, and she starts asking questions, without realizing that the answers she’s looking for are hidden in the books that surround her.
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"Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband Gil about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters"--Dust jacket flap.… (more)

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