Saturday, February 5, 2011

the swimmer

I have just finished reading Roma Tearne's new novel, The Swimmer. I am intending to write a full review for Halfway Down the Stairs, which I will link to at the start of March, so I will keep this brief, but I want to say something about it now.

That something is: This is a lovely, absorbing book. I came out of it feeling a little overwhelmed, and caught up in the lives of a few people who happen to be fictional but who could quite easily be real, I suspect.

It is the story of a man and a woman from very different backgrounds who meet in a small English village - one a refugee and illegal immigrant, one an acclaimed poet - and fall in love. It is also the story of a mother, dealing with loss, and later a daughter, dealing with unexplained history as well as her own loss. The three female narrators intertwine, but it is not for me to show you how. I can only recommend that you read this book. It's not a beach read, it is eye-opening, it engages with politics and difference and hate and resentment and distrust - but it isn't horrible. It is based around strong human relationships and sympathetic characters.

I give it three and a half stars.

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