Night Swim

Night Swim

3.4 104
by Jessica Keener
     
 

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Sixteen-year-old Sarah Kunitz lives in a posh, suburban world of 1970 Boston. From the outside, her parents’ lifestyle appears enviable—a world defined by cocktail parties, expensive cars, and live-in maids to care for their children—but inside their five-bedroom house, all is not well for the Kunitz family. Coming home from school, Sarah finds her… See more details below

Overview

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Kunitz lives in a posh, suburban world of 1970 Boston. From the outside, her parents’ lifestyle appears enviable—a world defined by cocktail parties, expensive cars, and live-in maids to care for their children—but inside their five-bedroom house, all is not well for the Kunitz family. Coming home from school, Sarah finds her well-dressed, pill-popping mother lying disheveled on their living room couch. At night, to escape their parents’ arguments, Sarah and her oldest brother, Peter, find solace in music, while her two younger brothers retreat to their rooms and imaginary lives.

Any vestige of decorum and stability drains away when their mother dies in a car crash one terrible winter day. Soon after, their father, a self-absorbed, bombastic professor begins an affair with a younger colleague. Sarah, aggrieved, dives into two summer romances that lead to unforeseen consequences.

In a story that will make you laugh and cry, Night Swim shows how a family, bound by heartache, learns to love again.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Keener's debut novel is a coming-of-age story that begins, like so many remembrances, with a voice from the past—middle-aged Sarah Kunitz is married with three grown children, but is called back to her own childhood when an unexpected email arrives from Mickey Fineburg, the boy she kissed under a broken pool table at age eight. The majority of the novel comprises vivid vignettes wherein Sarah recalls being a teenager in 1970s upper-class suburban Boston, the only daughter among three brothers. When Sarah's mother tragically dies in a car crash, the young protagonist is prematurely propelled into adulthood and its concomitant dramas of sex, self-discovery, and coping with inevitable loss. While each chapter feels self-sufficient, their loose ordering lends a dreamlike quality to the novel, appropriate for a recollection begun at a "deep hour" of night, when time "doesn't follow lines but circles and dips into underwater caves." Though occasionally belabored by grander themes for the most part left unexplored (e.g., Sarah's Jewish heritage and brushes with anti-Semitism), as well as unbalanced language (compare the weirdly comic description of a sexual encounter as "a quick, slippery ride" with the poetically strange notion of the sun resembling a fetus), Keener's evocation of a young woman coming into her own is nevertheless moving. (Jan.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781936558261
Publisher:
Fiction Studio
Publication date:
01/10/2012
Pages:
284
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

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