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3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  995 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Twenty years ago, Vivian Silver abandoned her dreams of travel to marry the mysterious Jeb Wheeler, seduced both by his unnerving charm and his acres of untamed New Hampshire land. The hand-built house and swimming pond become the center of the universe for their entire family. Lila, their youngest, is consumed with love for her two older brothers, Aaron and Jack, and rema...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published November 11th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,850)
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Shannon The Show Stopper
I love how the story unfolds with going back in time when the events actually took place and then unfolding the mystery in present day. The book has a very dark tone and that's probably one of the things I liked so much about it. I don't think the story focuses as much on the sibling rivalry as how the tragedy has shaped Lila's life. I didn't connect at all with the parents but really liked all the other characters. It's definitely worth reading.
I loved this book! I had this paperback for some time and I was reminded of it again when the author’s new book, A Dual Inheritance was recently reviewed. This is a compelling tale of sibling rivalry, jealousy and the consequences of pent up anger. No one character is perfectly good or perfectly bad, which makes the family dynamics all the more real for me. The novel is suspenseful, even though the tragic main event happens early on in the story. Still, I was captivated until the end as layers a...more
Jan 15, 2011 Nicole rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle aged women with time to read
Meh, I say. There was a fair amount of sex and longing, which was fun. The night at the lake was intense. I could have done without the entire second section...that girl was a whine-fest. And while I liked that the brother had an unexpected life, I thought the reunion was a stretch.

That's about all I can say without a spoiler alert.
Jan 19, 2008 Bonnie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sixteen and older
It is approximately 2:38 in the morning and I have just finished reading "Swimming." I could not put this book down even after reminding myself of everything I have to do today like church and hosting a sleepover for my teenager.

Hershon is riveting with her descriptions. Everyone is off kilter, a little strange but believable in this novel that has to do with consequences, searching and heartbreak.

This book was emotionally wrenching so I've got to rest and not read anything too over the top for...more
Aaron, Jack, and Lila are siblings. One horrible night, Jack falls and nothing is ever the same again. Aaron disappears, and Lila spends the next ten years looking for him.

*sigh* The more I read, the more of a book snob I become, and the harder it is to read mediocre storytelling. This is the author's debut novel and it's alright. There are moments when her attempts at deep, meaningful emotion actually work. Most of the time, however, it feels like she's just trying a little too hard. The end i...more
I cried on the subway as I finished this book, but I can't say I loved it. The story is great, but even after nearly 300 or so pages, I never really felt close to or like I identified with any of the characters.
This was one of those books i read while traveling, so somehow whenever i think about the book, i see it happening there. A lot of it was really dark and real seaming...not like a fairy tale or anything, i really enjoyed it. The people in the story seemed so real and imperfect.

I read it a little while ago so i don't as much remember the words but more of the things that happened and the way it made me feel. And the feeling I got from it was a very dark yet natural sadness, also a sense of famil...more
I have to say that so far I am not loving this book. I am not far into it, but it is not grabbing my attention at the moment.

Okay, so I am enjoying this book a lot more. It is sad and confusing and very realistic. I feel for all of them. Lila, the little girl makes me worry. She seems to involved in what her older brothers are doing, she seems to treat them more like the parents. Vivian and Jeb must have some problems that aren't brought to light yet, or will never be. They are ver...more
This was a fabulous book, I started it weeks ago, rarely had time to pick it up so was very slow reading. And then last night I picked it up cause I had some time, starting at chapter 4. By midway through chapter 4 I was unable to put it down! I got so engrossed I actually used my cell phone to try and read some more in the dark! The characters were very engaging, the mystery and the search for Lila felt very real and I wanted her to find the answers, even though I already knew what had happened...more
I received this hardcover book without a sleeve, so I really had no idea what it was about. I just began reading. The writing in the prologue definitely drew me in; I liked Hershon's manner of referring to the future of her characters as they made a decision or contemplated something in the present. That mechanism worked well for me through the book. There were other detailed areas that were dense and rambled a bit long for how much time was passing to the characters. I liked the characters quit...more
I found the writing to be tedious and inane. This sentence:

Suzanna hadn't been with him in the same kind of way--the way that brought his heart into his thighs, when his mouth was full with the back of his ribs and everything moved better.

just makes me say "HUH?!?" Gems like that are sprinkled throughout the book. How did it ever get into print?
I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't. The plot is decent, and the writing is not horrible. She goes into many useless details that felt as fillers, rather than adding anything to the story.

The characters are not that interesting in general. From the start I knew one of the brothers was going to die. No surprise there. The second part of the book was dreadful. Lila is odd and annoying. I couldn't connect to her, or understand her sickly and almost sexual obsession with her brot...more
Overwrought, indulgent and pseudo-intellectual. Complete crap and a complete waste of my time. The main character is totally unlikable and I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to spend time with her. Skip this, please.
I had a hard time sticking with this book. The writing felt very dense and I found myself frequently thinking "Come on! Get to the point already!" Too slow moving and lethargic for my tastes.
Brandy Sharpe
I have eagerly waited several hours while I finished this book to write this review. This book is poignantly written, details both vital and vibrant leap off the page to form an ocean of longing whose waves sweep you along with the story to its dramatic conclusion. Everyone who has lost something or someone, everyone who has longed for something that seemed impossible, must read this book. This book for me was part of a journey to attempt to find authors like Carol Goodman, whom I want to emulat...more
Ok so I just finished reading this book and I had a hard time rating it.
The auther creates a group of very colorful characters. The plot is is very promising but I didn't like the over thought put into almost evey sentence. The way everthing is over described.from every single item in Lila's purse to every single item on the kitchen table.It made for a slower read. The first and third sections were the best. I didn't care for the middle section and I have no idea why she started off the book w...more
loved reading this. beautiful, sensual, dark and tragic mystery about family bonds, desire, jealousy and the relativity of truth.
Tough story to read about, but excellent writing.
Elisa Waingort
Couldn't put this book down once I got past page 50. Up until that point it was slow reading; time passed really slowly. This also happened in a couple of other places in the book, so much so that I started reading ahead to confirm what I thought might happen or just to find out what was going to happen next! I rarely ever do that but I just couldn't wait to get to those parts in the book. Great descriptions in terms of character's growing self-awareness throughout the book. I will look for othe...more
I picked up the book at a used book store, and I read it because it's been recommended for those who enjoyed Girls in Trouble (Caroline Leavitt), A Map of the World (Jane Hamilton), and Perfect Family (Pam Lewis).

Like A Map of the World, the mood and pace are suitably downtrodden and labored, considering the plot and its effect on the characters. Like Perfect Family, their path may have gone differently if not for one rash choice. Caroline Leavitt or Elizabeth Brundage could have handled this ch...more
This book was an easy read, and quite entertaining. It reminds of a book recently read; but I can not place it at the moment. (A story of 3 kids being raised on their own, as there mother was in jail for killing the father. The oldest son trying to find himself... What is the name?) Anyway...

I enjoyed the book, as it seems Hershon, took her time writing and going one layer deeper into the lives and personalities of her characters. It basic start is a relationship between 2 brothers, wherein we...more
Annie Burge
Not what I was expecting. I'm not saying this was a poorly written book, but it was not meant for me. I read it following foot surgery (which meant pain *and* pain meds) and it was too dark of a story for me at that time. About halfway through I started skimmimg passages and mainly read dialogue just to get closure.
I wasn't too surprised that the author won a debut novel award, because she definitely shows promise with her writing - however with SWIMMING Hershon has not yet become all the writer she well may be, and slogging through this maiden effort wasn't much fun. I found the plot rather pedestrian and the writing wasn't good enough to make me shrug off the incredible coincidences that manage to find the main character (as Hershon wills us to do through her interview). This is nothing you haven't seen...more
This journey is sensual in intent but clumsy in delivery. Can’t quite put my finger on why I think this story just stumbles along and drifts. Many times I found myself reading through a passage that seemed to veer too far from the present or, better yet, too far away from coincidence to be remotely possible. The metaphorical distinction between walking on stones safely across the lake versus jumping from boulder to boulder was invisible. Swimming. Swimming with no shoreline in sight, we keep swi...more
Vivienne Strauss
Great characters and fairly well developed though I liked the book much more in the beginning than by the end. The ending drug on for what felt like a very long time and it felt too neat, too tied up at the end for my taste. Not entirely believable either as far as people willing to tell all.
Book #36 read in 2014

This was okay. I couldn't connect to any of the characters; didn't really like any of them. The plot wasn't horrible though.
I lived in New Hampshire for four years, so I thought it would be fun to read a book set there. The story was ok...not great, not terrible; it was entertaining, but certainly not prize winning fiction. It's the story of two brothers, one girlfriend, an accident?, and how a little sister responds to it, both immediately and later in her life. On the jacket, it's described as, "exquisitely sexual," which leaves me puzzled and bemused. Sure, okay, if that's what it takes to sell the book, put it on...more
The first part of the book is not captivating at all. I was reading through the pages wondering what the point was, or what the book was even about. There was plenty of forshadowing to suggest that something terrible was going to happen to the brother, so it wasn't a shocker and did not affect me emotionally. However, the story shifted when it came to Lila's perspective 10years after the fact. The story became more interesting and progressed as she came closer and closer to finding her brother....more
Jun 28, 2007 Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of water and self-reflection
Shelves: booksofthepast
Although not perfect, this is a book whose characters I learned to trust implicitly. If a character was certain something would happen, I was certain. If she knew that a person was lying, I knew it, as well. Each of the characters' action played superbly well with the development of the story and of the characters themselves. For a young novelist, her prose is wonderful. And, as always, I really enjoy following a theme and a family through generations and points of view. Again, it's not the perf...more
Sep 07, 2008 Teshamae rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teshamae by: Grace Dawson
The book centers around one fateful night at a New Hampshire pond where jealousy rages out of control and suddenly the life of a Wheeler boy is over. The problem with this book was that I didn't really like the characters. There was the teenage girl who was dating one brother and wanted another. She was a liar and a cheat. There was the weird brother, and the handsome one, who was gone for most of the book. And there was the little girl searching for answers -- she was the only one I liked. I do...more
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