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4.0 7
by Joseph Olshan

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The author of Clara’s Heart crafts a vivid mosaic of the passions and pressures of gay life in New York City as two men find their all-consuming affair threatened by the cynicism of mutual friends and memories of lost love. Nominated for the Lambda Award.


The author of Clara’s Heart crafts a vivid mosaic of the passions and pressures of gay life in New York City as two men find their all-consuming affair threatened by the cynicism of mutual friends and memories of lost love. Nominated for the Lambda Award.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Intensely personal and infused with a rare degree of immediacy, Olshan's ( Clara's Heart ) first venture into gay-themed fiction succeeds on several levels. A dramatic death brings Sean Paris into the life of narrator Will Kaplan, who is still haunted by the disappearance 10 years earlier of his lover. Was Chad struck down by a ship during one of the duo's frequent nocturnal swims off the California coast, or did he purposefully vanish from Will's existence? Hampered by Will's obsession with Chad (and lingering attachment to ex-lover Greg) and by Sean's harmful concealment of parts of his own past, the two can only skirt the edges of involvement. What might initially appear a protracted game of musical beds, however, has deeper undercurrents, as the novel's beautifully etched characters explore the themes of longing and loss. With the constant fear of AIDS looming over its vivid Manhattan setting, Olshan's story spins out through flashbacks within flashbacks--indeed, nearly all of the novel is one long remembrance . In consequence, the plot occasionally becomes difficult to follow, but readers who navigate these waters will be richly rewarded. (Sept.)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are Saying About This

Robert Olen Butler
Powerful and resonant...Joseph Olshan has explored deeply the realities of the obsessivenenss of love.
Ian McEwan
Extraordinarily mature...Here is a writer in total command of his narrative.
Thom Jones
One of the boldest and most accessible stories about lonliness and the restless search for unity since Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Crying Game. Olshan evokes the voice of James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room in his latest and most unexpected excursion into dark waters.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Nightswimmer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
GetItInWritHing More than 1 year ago
olshan's writing is rich and full; the story, as lonely as the cold hudson at night
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was in an used bookstore when I came across this book. I read the first page to get a feel of Olshan's writing and immediately wanted to rush home to finish it. I absolutely love this book and recommend it to everyone. Even though I am a gay male, I tend to stay away from gay fiction because more often than not I end up disappointed. Anyone that has lost that one love will find enjoyment in this book. It is as if it is you are reading your own story. Sure the characters are different, but the reader is able to understand and relate to Will's thoughts and feelings. I could not put the book. The imagery and the author's writing are absolutely amazing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book on a whim not really expecting much. I found out different. The author hit home heavily in showing what it is to be a gay man in the age of AIDS. The narrative was original in the way it was told, and there was just enough romance and suspense to keep the reader glued to the book. I found I had a hard time putting it down. The best thing about it is it gives all of those of us who are looking for the right person hope. I will highly reccommend it to my friends.
carlosmock More than 1 year ago
Nightswimmer by Joseph Olshan Will Kaplan has been hurt in love. His boyfriend, Chad, and Will like to go night swimming off the coast of Santa Barbara. One night, they swim very far, a boat approaches them and only Will returns to the shore. However, Will thinks Chad is still alive and just wanted to get away from him. A feeling shared by two of Chad's roommates. Sean Paris has been hurt by love also. A military family man, Sean fell for Randall Monroe, a man who used to work for Sean's stepfather in Okinawa. Randall transfers out of Okinawa and breaks Sean heart. Now in New York City, they find each other and start a relationship. They must learn to live with their past, the gay culture of the 90's, their friends, and each other. Narrated in the second person point of view - from Will to Sean - this is a novel about men tormented by their past and unable to cope with love. In the midst of the HIV plague, men are as afraid of intimacy as they are of death. Olshan reminds us that living fully is dangerous to our health, both mental and physical. It might require more than the strength we reserve for swimming back to shore. This is a tale of love, loss, and obsession. A wonderful read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A gay book about swimming at night is certain to get my attention, as I am a gay male that loves the sport of swimming. And it turned out to be quite a lyrical book where night swimming became a profound metaphor for entering into the mysterious realm of gay male relationships. While I found many of the storylines a bit too obsessive and colored by jealousy, I'm sure most gay males can relate to these emotions - the excitement and insecurity of meeting a new 'soul mate,' pining over lost loves. I found the Manhattan setting of this novel exciting because I had actually visited several of the establishments which were mentioned. There was also some humor in some of the wacky characters populating this book. There's a lot of story surrounding the beauty of artistic achievement which gives this book a lot of literary merit and pushes it beyond a lot of gay literature I have read. Highly recommended but it's not light, recreational reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i bought it by mistake and i find out that this is one of the best books i have ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book belongs in the trash.It is so boring,all the characters are fake,and the book makes no sense at all.WORST BOOK EVER