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Swim Back to Me by Ann Packer
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's review
Jul 10, 2011

really liked it
Read in July, 2011

I'm still waiting for another novel from Packer, so in the meanwhile I was curious to see what she's been working on. Here we have an author much interested in the complexities of human relationships and clearly skilled in capturing the nuances in words. The first and last stories in the collection feature the same character, Sasha, and reading the second of the two was like attending a forty year class reunion and being just a bit surprised at the turns the life of someone you thought you knew well has taken. My favorite of the collection is "Dwell Time," in which a wife's understanding of her new husband grows despite the pain he causes her. Packer's description of her feelings of fear when he disappears struck me as so real that I was nearly in pain as I read. Each of the stories shows human courage in a different way.

I wish all of the stories were connected in the way Elizabeth Strout did in Olive Kitteridge, still one of my favorite books. Not a fair comment to make. A fairer comment is to say that she continues the tradition of my beloved Sherwood Anderson.

Please write another novel, Ann Packer.
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Susan My favorite was also "Dwell Time." It's so scary to try a second or subsequent intimate relationship. I thought Packer captured some very real nuances involved in the blended family. I found myself wondering if Laura will hold to her fantasized response when Mark returns. . . . I love stories that keep you thinking after you read them!

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