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Swimming

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3.26  ·  Rating Details ·  1,228 Ratings  ·  125 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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.
Carol
Mar 27, 2011 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book, favorites
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
Nicole
Jan 15, 2011 Nicole rated it it was ok  ·  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.
Bonnie
Dec 09, 2007 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Emily
Apr 14, 2013 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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?
allison
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.
D. George
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
Edienna
Nov 03, 2009 Edienna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kinsley
Jan 17, 2011 Kinsley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1/17/11
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.

1/18/11
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
Maryann
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
Annette
Three and one half stars. This book has been on my to read list for some time.

It's really two stories- there is the story of two brothers and what leads up to a tragedy, and the second is a story about their little sister's coming of age.

The story reminded me of East of Eden: the good brother and the bad one, but that's where the similarities end.

I found some of the characters well defined, but Jack was elusive to me, as were the parents Jeb and Vivian. I wanted to know why the boys came to disl
...more
Jen
Dec 09, 2010 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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
John
Oct 28, 2013 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kelly
Aug 03, 2011 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sam
May 02, 2008 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tough story to read about, but excellent writing.
Lisa
Jun 23, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved reading this. beautiful, sensual, dark and tragic mystery about family bonds, desire, jealousy and the relativity of truth.
Michelle
Couldn't put it down this was a special book.
Alyssa
I read the book swimming and it's by joanna hershon and i really do like this book because i like personally like horror book movies and in the beginning vivian silver and jep wheeler got this house with some land and there out there cleaning the place up and aaron pulled up to the house and i thought it was funny because he didn't want to get out of the car and his girlfriend suzanne was like “ plan on getting out soon “ and i thought that was funny and then lila the youngest ran outside and kn ...more
Michelle Only Wants to Read
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
Stacy
Mar 06, 2010 Stacy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jessica
Apr 15, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
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
Mikaela
I found this a really compelling story and found myself liking it more and more the farther into the story that I got. at first I thought that this story was going to be about the betrayal between tje brothers Jack and Aaron but halfway through part two the stor became more about hos one tragic event can shape someones life a d totaly take it over to the degree that the person can not live there own life. I really felt for Lila, her life was turned upside down. Her whole family situation was cha ...more
Erin
Jun 10, 2008 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Katrin
Apr 23, 2015 Katrin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another one of those books which you either love or hate. The style and flow of writing and the deep interior perspective could turn some people off--but for me, it pulled me in and kept me hooked through to the very end. The writing is surprising, energetic, lovely. The characters are fascinating. Hershon often surprises us with what her characters say and do, and yet it always feels integral to their personalities. (There are two highly improbable coincidences upon which the plot turns ...more
Olivia
Sep 23, 2011 Olivia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Heaven
Jun 16, 2014 Heaven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Brandy Sharpe
Jul 16, 2014 Brandy Sharpe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Rebecca
Aug 28, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Julia
Jun 23, 2016 Julia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up from a library sale, not knowing anything about the author, but it looked like something I would enjoy.
It was a chore to get through. The characters are all off center and not at all interesting or believable. This is a debut novel for Hershon and it reads like she is trying too hard. Descriptions were over done. Too much minutia - felt like filler for the story.
The story line itself could be plausible if told differently.
This book will be leaving my house through the back
...more
Teshamae
Sep 07, 2008 Teshamae rated it it was ok  ·  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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