Also by this author: Our Endless Numbered Days, Bitter Orange
Published by Tin House on February 7, 2017
Genres/Lists: #30Authors, Fiction
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I received this book for free from Edelweiss.
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A couple of years ago, I opted to read an upcoming debut by an author by the name of Claire Fuller. I didn’t know anything about her but the book, Our Endless Numbered Days, intrigued me so I gave it a go. Not only did it end up being one of my favorite books of the year, but Fuller has since graciously donated her time to #30Authors. So when I learned that she had a new book coming out, I just knew I had to read it.
Fuller’s sophomore novel, Swimming Lessons, revolves around Ingrid, a wife and mother who disappears under mysterious circumstances. Both her daughters, Flora and Nan, and her husband Gil have a different take on what may have happened to her, but the reader has another one altogether, for every other chapter is a letter written by Ingrid, herself. Jumping back and forth between past and present, it is only the reader who has a 360-view of what is happening, but even they don’t know the full truth.
While I’m not usually a fan of books featuring letters (they tend to try too hard to be casual), Fuller masterfully blends the personal with the literary, making them a story unto themselves. But while Swimming Lessons is very different from Fuller’s previous book, it exhibits the same features that made me fall in love with her writing. Her descriptions are rich and detailed, and the story unfolds naturally but shockingly.
On a personal note, I love how she incorporated synesthesia into the story (or, in the case of the book, the ability to smell colors). I happen to have this, and while my senses aren’t quite as sophisticated as Fuller’s descriptions, it allowed me to connect with the writing and the characters in a very unusual way. As the oldest of four girls, I also connected with the complicated sisterly love, even if my relationships aren’t quite so strained. Flora, the younger of the two, who is more sensitive and rebellious and Nan, the older, practical one, are both independent in their own ways but bonded in a way that only children who have lost a parent can be.[email protected] shines in her sophomore novel, #SwimmingLessons, from @Tin_House. #30Authors Click To Tweet
I can confidently say that I adore both of Fuller’s books and I sincerely hope she is already working on her next one because I will be first in line to read it. She has a style that is unique and memorable, but in a refreshing and captivating way, and both her novels make great book club picks.
Recommended for: Fans of stories with twists and turns but without your usual mystery-novel approach.