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Monday, 17 July 2017

Swimming Lessons @ClaireFuller2 @Fig_Tree_Books

About Swimming Lessons

'Gil Coleman looked down from the window and saw his dead wife standing on the pavement below.'
Gil's wife, Ingrid has been missing, presumed drowned, for twelve years.

A possible sighting brings their children, Nan and Flora, home. Together they begin to confront the mystery of their mother. Is Ingrid dead? Or did she leave? And do the letters hidden within Gil's books hold the answer to the truth behind his marriage, a truth hidden from everyone including his own children?

My review of Swimming Lessons
Oh, what a wonderful book! I've had Swimming Lessons on my TBR pile for a long time and was so happy when I was finally able to sit down and read it. This book is such a delightful read about family, love and what keeps a family together. It is a book about the role that a mother plays in bringing up her daughters and how the loss of a mother figure impacts upon the whole family. It is a topic that is dealt with sensitively, with empathy and with huge insight. It really is a beautiful book.
The entire book hinges upon what happened to Ingrid. Wife to Gill, and mother to Nan and Flora. Is she dead or is she still alive? What happened to her? We learn about what happened to her at the same time as the characters in the book, via letters that Ingrid wrote to Gill before she went missing, all of which are hidden in various books around their home. Gill, a retired University Professor hoards books, because he likes to read what people have doodled in the margins, his home is overflowing with bocks. These letters are beautiful, heartfelt, and allow us to learn about Ingrid. We learn of how she met Gill, their early life together, and of the younger Nan and Flora.
Swimming Lessons is a detective story of sorts. I wanted to learn about what happened to Ingrid, but also about what happened to Gill. Why his life dramatically changed and the man who he eventually became for his daughters. It is a novel of discovery, for everyone involved. Flora is young and deeply affected by her mother's disappearance. She is trying to find her way in life. Nan is a midwife, the older sister, and the one who became the surrogate mother, but at what cost to her?
This novel is a tale about a father and his two daughters, the bond that they share. It is also a narrative for lost mothers. The writing is truly poetic, delving deep into human behaviour and emotions. Swimming Lessons truly is a tale of love, hope and family. I highly recommend it.

Swimming Lesson, published on 26 Jan. 2017 by Fig Tree, can be found on Amazon here.

About the author
Claire Fuller is the author of Swimming Lessons (published 2017), and Our Endless Numbered Days (2015) which won the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction.

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