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Anexhilarating literary mystery,Swimming Lessonskeeps readers guessing until the final page.Disenchanted by the life in which she’s found herself, Ingrid Coleman writes lettersto her husband, Gil, about the truth of their passionate and troubled marriage. She hides them, unread, in the thousands of books Gil has collected over the years. Then she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two young daughters, Flora and Nan.Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and his unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed Ingrid drowned, returns home to care for her father and investigate her mother’s disappearance.But what Flora doesn’t realize is that theanswers to her questions are hidden in the booksthat surround her.Scandalous and smart,Swimming Lessonsholds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a turbulent marriage and the dangerous fault lines that remain.
|Publisher:||Tin House Books|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Fuller’s debut novel,Our Endless
Numbered Days,was published by Tin House in 2015 and went on to win the Desmond Elliott prize in the UK and was a finalist in the ABA Indies Choice
Award, an IndieNext pick, and chosen as a Goodreads Debut Spotlight.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book started out ok, but as it went on, I found myself getting a little confused about different characters in the book. It goes from the present day to the past, then back to present day. It wasn't worth the money spent.
What I like most about this novel was how typical and normal this family felt to me and that the ordeal that they were dealing with felt real, they felt as if they could have lived next door to me. The drama was not over-the-edge, the characters were people that I could relate to or they even have been individuals I might have known, the whole novel could have even happened to someone in my family. It wasn’t an intense novel nor was it something I could lay down for a couple days, I really enjoyed it, I had concern for the characters and I needed to know how the story would play out. I felt sorry for Flora as I felt she lived outside the picture, whether she choose that or the family kept her out, she was clueless about what was happening within her own family. Nan, I liked her take charge stance but I thought she also had an attitude at times. Gil, what a dude. As I read the letters that Ingrid posted, my love for Ingrid grew and my feelings for Gil changed. Ingrid wrote from her heart, she wrote about her life, her marriage and their family, she shared this on paper and even though I only saw the one side, I thought I had seen what they had gone through before she left him. She wanted so much in life, she had dreams like we do and what she got in life was not what she had hoped. The more I read the novel, my feelings for this family changed. This was a fantastic and entertaining read and I enjoyed the ending that the author chose. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Tin House Books in exchange for an honest review.
Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller is a very highly recommended family drama/mystery. "Gil Coleman looked down from the first-floor window of the bookshop and saw his dead wife standing on the pavement below." Gil Coleman saw his dead wife, Ingrid, twelve years after she disappeared and followed her outside into the rain where he ended up falling and is hospitalized. It is discovered that Gil is dying from cancer. Daughters Nan and Flora meet at the family home. Gil's sighting of Ingrid is not believed by sensible Nan, who writes it off to senility, but Flora believes her mother is still alive. Ingrid Coleman disappeared in 1992, leaving behind her older husband and two daughters. It was believed that she drowned since it was well known that she loved her daily swims in the sea, but her body was never found. Gil and Ingrid met in 1976 when she was a university student in his literature class. An affair starts, Ingrid discovers she is pregnant, and the two marry. Gil is dismissed from the university and the two settle in his family home in Dorset where Gil also has a writing cottage. But Gil is a womanizing philanderer and not even remotely faithful. The rooms and halls of the family home are lined with thousands of books that Gil has collected over the years. It was the same way when Ingrid first moved in the house. As Ingrid learns more and more about Gil's character, she turns to writing letters. Her letters tell the brutally honest story of their marriage. After she finishes a letter, she tucks it into one of Gil's books where it awaits discovery. Each letter concludes with the name of the book in which that letter was hidden. Swimming Lessons is told through two timelines. The present day shows Flora's perspective and the decline of Gil. The past is recounted through Ingrid's detailed letters, telling the story of their marriage. Through Ingrid's letters, the past is exposed and more and more secrets and betrayals are revealed in their troubled marriage. This is an incredible, well-written book. I was engrossed and invested in the story from beginning to end. The writing is phenomenal. I loved the epistolary parts of the novel that tell the story of the early years through Ingrid point of view. I loved the juxtaposition of the present and the past. There are surprising revelations toward the end and an epilogue that adds depth. The characters are well developed and fully realized. The intricate story reaches a satisfactory conclusion that made me want to read Claire Fuller's first book asap. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company and Tin House Books
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