Eliza's Reviews > Swimming Home

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
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's review
Aug 03, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: man-booker-2012-long, novel, man-booker-2012-short
Read from January 04 to 10, 2013

1/10/13: I wish I cared more for this novel, as I'm sure it is much deeper (like the central motif of the pool, perhaps?) than I've given it credit for. Tom McCarthy's fervently idolatrous introduction didn't help--I found it more irritating than enlightening. But basically I just lost patience with the spare, oblique intensity of the story--the seemingly random yet clearly meaningful accretion of details; the characters moving about in their own orbits, only occasionally crashing one into the other; the cryptic pronouncements and whatever is therefore left unsaid.

Nina Jacobs, 13, and her parents Joe (or Jozef) and Isabel arrive with their family friends Mitchell and Laura for a holiday at a villa in the south of France. They find a young woman, Kitty Finch, floating in the villa's swimming pool. Kitty is very much alive (haHA!) and Isabel, for reasons that everyone thinks they understand but nobody really does, invites Kitty to stay at the villa with them. Kitty is obsessed with Jozef, who is a famous poet. (Is it redundant to say he's a famous tortured poet?) Various random events happen. And those events seem to lead to the final climax. But I hate spoilers, even for a book I didn't like. So that's all you get.

Finalist for the 2012 Booker Prize. Very glad it didn't win. That said, I would like to talk to someone who found more in Swimming Home than I did. Or I wish I had the patience to think and read more about it. But it so didn't touch me that I think I'll just move on.

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