Swimming Home is a subversive page turner, a merciless gaze at the insidious harm that depression can have on apparently stable, well turned out people Set in a summer villa, the story is tautly structured, taking place over a single week in which a group of beautiful, flawed tourists in the French Riviera come loose at the seams Deborah Levy s writing combines linguistiSwimming Home is a subversive page turner, a merciless gaze at the insidious harm that depression can have on apparently stable, well turned out people Set in a summer villa, the story is tautly structured, taking place over a single week in which a group of beautiful, flawed tourists in the French Riviera come loose at the seams Deborah Levy s writing combines linguistic virtuosity, technical brilliance and a strong sense of what it means to be alive Swimming Home represents a new direction for a major writer In this book, the wildness and the danger are all the powerful for resting just beneath the surface With its deep psychology, biting humour and deceptively light surface, it wears its darkness lightly.
Swimming Home Swimming Home is a subversive page turner a merciless gaze at the insidious harm that depression can have on apparently stable well turned out people Set in a summer villa the story is tautly struc
I m really at a loss to understand why this novella shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 did not win it This is a perfect book The prose is magnificent and a tour de force by an author with an exquisite handling particularly of the mental state in human beings.The setting is July 1994, in a villa up in the hills from Nice in the Alpes Maritime, one of my favourite places in southern France A famous poet, Jozef Jacobs, known as Joe, and his wife Isabel, a former war correspondent, are on hol [...]
This book is rather wonderful cryptic, elusive, allusive and dreamlike, and very difficult to encapsulate or describe in a meaningful review My only previous exposure to Levy was reading her most recent book Hot Milk, and this book occupies similar territory, at least superficially Both are full of symbolism and striking imagery, and share similar southern European settings, but ultimately depend on what is not said than what is Levy toys with her characters and appears to understand them bette [...]
I really wanted to love this book, and I did love Levy s writing, her prose is masterful, conveying character, setting, insight in small spare beautifully crafted paragraphs The entire book is quite lean a week of time, briefly, surgically told and yet there are 9 distinct, well drawn characters, each with backstory, plot and motivation Levy s craftsmanship is rich.The problem is that the book is cold at the core The oddly comforting epilogue rings false in a book that so limpidly depicts layer [...]
Deborah Levy is an interesting writer There is a visual quality to her work that makes the reader blink Is this a novel, or is it a film, we ask ourselves Are we reading or watching We become immobile in front of the screen of her set pieces, watching passively as the events happen before our eyes, as if in a documentary or a piece of reality TV But there is no voice over, hardly any backstory, and no linking of scenes What we see is all there is so we have to make of it what we can.There is als [...]
This queer, disquieting novel blends a dark, surreal Topor topos with a Hollywood noir of forties vintage Taking place in 1994 over a week in a French holiday resort, the novel centres around stuttering botanist and exhibitionist depressive Kitty Finch and her interaction with a ragbag of unlikeable snobs, poets and snotty brats Like her 1995 book The Unloved, Levy creates an unpleasant world with little empathy, where language is the only refuge, where the icy shimmer of the exacting prose keep [...]
Swimming Home is a steal with just 157 pages, this little book packs an incredible punch The pervading scent of menace in this novel is overpowering and disquieting Precise, concise, decisive sentences trap the reader Nice France is overhung with a grey cloud of emotive intrigue Only the child seems to see the pervading danger imminent in the holiday The disintegration of relationships is everywhere marriages, friendships, businesses Back dropped by the scenic atmosphere of Nice, the family s ho [...]
Over the past few years, I ve found the Man Booker shortlist to be a pretty reliable source of new, interesting books I wouldn t have discovered otherwise, like 2011 s excellent Pigeon English and The Sisters Brothers, or, from 2010, Room, Andrea Levy s amazing The Long Song, and Tom McCarthy s weird but interesting C This year, however, while Bring Up the Bodies was absolutely brills, the two shortlisted works I ve read this book and The Garden of Evening Mists have been absolute Crap City I kn [...]
3.5 Not quite sure what to make of this little gem of a book A holiday, characters that are on course for a terrific crash of some sort, the insidious nature of depression all meet in this tightly structured, brilliantly worded novel Every word, every scene means something, nothing is wasted Strange but rather brilliant at the same time Didn t quite manage to like it, but did admire it and the ending was not at all was I thought it was going to be The tension in the novel is palpable and at time [...]
Note this review is not very original, since it uses a deal of quotation And it isn t about the book much either Please feel free to flag it.Kitty takes fourteen year old Nina pony riding I m not sure why, really, as it seems a little unlikely Nina is fourteen going on twenty, and not the horsy sort But there s rather a lot of the unlikely here, so all par for the course Anyway, it provides us with this memorable scene Kitty was waving at someone, trying to get the attention of a woman sitting a [...]
A group of tourists holidaying in the French Riviera arrive at their summer villa only to find something floating in the swimming pool One of them thinks it s a bear, but it turns out to be a very naked stranger The woman Kitty, having nowhere else to go, joins the group and ends up being a big disruption to the group in this deeply psychology dark novel.Ok, I ll admit that the main reason I decided to read this book was because it was short listed for the Man Booker award but let s face it, aft [...]
The characters were flat, undifferentiated They were faceless to me, doing nothing, being nothing, but somehow permeating the book with their unspoken whining Intensely irritating They all melted together as an amorphous mass of indecipherableness I am so done with this book.
Swimming Home was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Bloomsbury USA Life is only worth living because we hope it will get better and we ll all get home safely After spotting this on Netgalley I found myself intrigued but ultimately willing to wait for it to be published A few days later the Shortlist for the 2012 Man Book Prize was announced and Swimming Home was included, so I decided it was fate that I stumbled upon this book yet again so I went ahead and snagged it Kitty, botanist, poet, [...]
Shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, this slim book reads like a play, the action centered on a small group of people gathered at a tourist villa in seaside France Levy is a playwright and poet as well as a novelist, and this informs her fiction Description is given like stage direction His daughter, Nina Jacobs, fourteen years old, standing at the edge of the pool in her new cherry print bikini, glanced anxiously at her mother The poetry comes through in the spare and precise language Con [...]
I ve been putting off this review because Swimming Home has me a little stymied Two families on holiday in a villa in Nice are surprised when a naked woman is found swimming in the pool one morning Kitty Finch, the story s catalyst, has no where to stay and is invited to take a room with the in the villa We soon learn that she is not there by accident but that she is there to meet Joe, a famous poet, to have him read one of her poems The plot unfolds through the eyes of several different charact [...]
The antiquarian bookstore I most often frequent has two sections Fiction and Literature, where you d find Michael Ondaatje and Grace Paley and Lorrie Moore, and General Fiction, where you d find Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult and Candace Bushnell I found Swimming Home in the latter section Don t blame the staff Blame the covers of the most recent editions, with their benevolent blues and suburban lawn greens Blame the title which serves in the novel as the title of a poem cum suicide note , wi [...]
When Swimming Home was longlisted for the Booker Prize, I was elated Not because I d already read the book, but because, having read an early review that had piqued my interest, I had been trying to get hold of a copy of it for months and hadn t even managed to see one Now it s actually been shortlisted, it has of course been re published in paperback with a WH Smith friendly cover, and suddenly it s everywhere.Like last year s winner, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, Swimming Home is a [...]
Relationships between family, friends and a mysterious stranger are explored in uneasy detail in this compact and memorable read Set in a holiday home in the hills above Nice in 1994, this enthralling story is a great example of well crafted language Every sentence being concise and well crafted and creates a narrative that is devastating in its effects.Poet Joe Jacobs is sharing a holiday home with his wife Isabel teenage daughter Nina and friends Mitchell and Laura who own a business selling h [...]
How to begin talking about this novel I am reminded, seeing how much attention this book didn t get though it was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize , and how unenthusiastic the response by GR reviewers, that I shouldn t trust GR star ratings or at least I shouldn t be following them like breadcrumbs that will necessarily lead me to a compelling book Of course, I know this, but I must often be reminded It is so easy to dismiss something unpopular not sure if that is the best word in this day an [...]
Such a beautiful book, I enjoyed every minute of it While rather dark and depressing, I was completely swept away by it The writing style is superb When reading, I felt right from the first minute sitting at a swimming pool at the C te d Azur, watching characters and their relations.
et ceteraA Latin expression meaning and other things or so forth or the rest of such things The poem, Swimming Home , was mostly made up of etcs he had counted seven of them in one half of the page alone What kind of language was this My mother says I m the only jewel in her crownBut I ve made her tired with all my etc,So now she walks with sticksTo accept her language was to accept that she held him, her reader, in great esteem He was being asked to make something of it and what he made of it w [...]
Andrew Gallix refers to Deborah Levy as a true daytime insomniac Guardian whatever that means, it seems to colourfully capture Levy s performance in this well observed and protean novel Its epigram is drawn from the Surrealist Manifesto and serves as an ironic commentary on the action, whereby Each morning in every family, men, women and children these familiar social categories are all represented discretely in this middle class family novel gone thru the looking glass , if they have nothing be [...]
Life is only worth living because we hope it will get better and we ll all get home safely This is the basic tenet of the eerie, dark and expertly written story, Swimming Home And the book is only worth reading because we hope it will get better and we ll all get to the end quickly Two middle class, middle aged couples find a naked girl in their swimming pool novel awash with water symbolism while staying in a rental villa on holiday on the Riviera One of the guests invites Kitty Finch Finch jus [...]
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize offers a sense of promise to any book, and Swimming Home initially delivers on that promise The novel begins with a rich mix of character conflict, intrigue, and foreboding of troubles to come The two central couples, plus a teenage daughter, on vacation near Nice, all quickly reveal numerous interpersonal problems, especially when confronted with a surprise visitor, Kitty, a fragile, supposed botanist poet So I found myself saying, I m glad I m reading this [...]
Evidently this takes as its the template of the bourgeois British vacation novel or something like that, a genre I had never really considered to be a genre, though I think I ve encountered other manifestations What a fascinating, potentially horrible form to borrow for an imploding family melodrama Or perhaps imploding family melodrama is inevitable in a bourgeois British vacation novel In any event, this spare, well constructed, and emotionally piercing story makes good use of it Although, if [...]
This is a short book, a novella But there is so much going on between the chapters, between the lines, that it feels much longer Levy does not feel the need to tell us everything, but leaves us to discover some things as the story progresses and to imagine other things for ourselves If you avoid the temptation to rush through it, you find that the dots you have joined at the end are not all in the book.As the story begins, I found myself drawing comparisons with Ali Smith s The Accidental In bot [...]
I loved Levy s latest novel, Hot Milk , so that impelled me to start her backlist The Booker shortlist nominated Swimming Home did not disappoint, but it does seem a lesser effort or maybe just condensed in its subject and effect Regardless, Kitty Finch is a truly original character, and it s a novel or reasonably, a novella that makes one ponder and think, and it s one I will probably re read somewhere down the line.
This is not a good book It is a book in which the author is trying all too obviously and desperately to write a clever book It screams look at me being so clever on every page Instead, we get a nonsensical and thoroughly unsatisfying book I finished it only because it is short.
Poor Sigmund Freud The couch is looking awfully ratty His clinical theories are repressed in the cabinet of historical curiosities somewhere between Gertrude Stein and Madame Blavatsky Considering his famous map of psychosexual development, Brown University psychiatrist Peter Kramer has concluded that every particular is wrong If the Viennese doctor pops up at all nowadays, it s likely to be in some flaccid joke Sometimes a hack is just a hack.But what a pungent storyteller he was As his modern [...]