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Learning to Swim

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  182 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Cambridge Literature is a series of literary texts edited for study by students aged 14 18 in English-speaking classrooms. It will include novels, poetry, short stories, essays, travel-writing and other non-fiction. The series will be extensive and open-ended and will provide school students with a range of edited texts taken from a wide geographical spread. It will featur ...more
Paperback, 223 pages
Published May 25th 1995 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1982)
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Oct 24, 2015 umberto rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Bought in 1997 at an ELT seminar in Bangkok, this 11-story book has not really interested me at first sight and it remained unfinished after nearly two decades since I have never read him before. I could go as far as Story 1 Seraglio and reach Story 2 The Tunnel (16 pages) and leave it at that without any inspiring motive. However, last Monday I decided to try reading the remaining stories, hoping to complete this task as soon as I could.

I found reading “Learning to Swim” convincingly
Oct 24, 2015 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written stories of human relationships. Disturbing stories in some sense and yet familiar. Readers who only like satisfying endings will not like these, however, readers who enjoy excellent writing, keen observations, and reality (well almost for the last story) may enjoy this unusual collection. The author's masterful writing floats readers along to thoughtful endings.

I'd recommend this literary collection to readers who enjoy same.
Mar 15, 2013 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Learning To Swim is a set of short stories by Graham Swift. Their focus is fundamentally and repeatedly on human relationships, especially those within the nuclear family. And though it would be wrong to suggest that Learning To Swim and the other stories delve deeply into the human psyche, it would also be wrong to dismiss them as light touches on the fabric of life.

In the title story, for instance, we have a family on holiday. The father is a proud achiever, very much the centre of attention,
Robert Beveridge
Graham Swift, Learning to Swim and Other Stories (Washington Square Press, 1982)

Graham Swift is something of a one-trick pony, actually, but the one trick he does he does exceptinoally well. This is less obvious when you're reading the man's wonderful novels-- Waterland, for instance, which someone will hopefully soon canonize as one of the classics of twentieth-century literature-- but when you get digging into a story collection, you realize that Swift, or a close family member, was in the thr
Marc Faoite
Nov 25, 2015 Marc Faoite rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written.
The title story was my favorite of the collection. I read these many years ago (somewhere near the end of the 1980s). I clearly remember the melancholy and the feeling that this was the reflections of someone trying not to be bitter about women while sorting out alot of loss. I guess I give the author credit for trying not to be bitter, but it wasn't a fun read.
Gemma Williams
Apr 16, 2008 Gemma Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful collection of short stories with a melancholy feel, mainly centering around themes of loss. Apparently simple events are invested with depth and yearning. I loved the story about the zookeeper and the antelope, and the title story brings a great sense of the hidden drama in the everyday.
Apr 08, 2011 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other, en
Contemporary family tensions written in a semi-classical way. Personal highlights were the long short-story 'The Watch' based on a life-preserving timepiece passed down the generations of father to son and 'The Tunnel' featuring runaway lovers encamped in a South London flat.
Feb 10, 2009 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Swift is a good story writer,I wish he'd write more now. I read a few of these in London Magazine and elsewhere in the 80s, and was impressed: themes of loss and childhood well handled.
Jerome K
Aug 15, 2007 Jerome K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read any of Graham Swift's novels. But I loved this collection of short stories he wrote from way back. Imaginative and moving.
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Graham Colin Swift FRSL (born May 4, 1949) is a British author. He was born in London, England and educated at Dulwich College, London, Queens' College, Cambridge, and later the University of York. He was a friend of Ted Hughes.

Some of his works have been made into films, including Last Orders, which starred Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins and Waterland which starred Jeremy Irons. Last Orders was a
More about Graham Swift...

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“He was distrustful of happiness as some people fear heights or open spaces.” 3 likes
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