Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke
Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke
Touchstone Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) - fiction/general
I'm going to go uber-casual on this one and say up-front that it's a book about sisters . . . which I usually hate. I've never had a great relationship with my sister (her choice). We get along fine but the word "close" is just not happening. However, my dud sister relationship really didn't bother me much in this case because I was totally sucked into the story pretty quickly.
Swimming at Night is told from alternating viewpoints. As the book opens, Katie is receiving news that her sister Mia has committed suicide in Bali. Mia's been touring the world with her good friend Finn for several months, but Bali wasn't on her agenda and Finn was no longer with Mia when she died. What happened on Mia's trip? Why was she in Bali and what led to her death?
Katie is convinced that Mia could not possibly have killed herself. When she's given Mia's backpack, which contains her journal, Katie quits her job and follow's Mia's path, reading the entries as she follows in Mia's footsteps. She never reads ahead, which was the one thing I couldn't buy into about Swimming at Night. Your sister dies of a suspected suicide, you've got her journal and -- seriously? -- you don't sit right down and read it cover to cover to try to figure out what on earth happened? I can't fathom not reading the journal immediately; that's the first thing I'd do.
Beyond that oddity, though, Swimming at Night is a story of betrayal and lies, love and friendship, facing fears and grief and learning what's important in life. There's quite a bit of s*x but not the graphic variety. Although there were moments that I was pulled from the book due to a relationship that I couldn't relate to and the odd choice not to read ahead in the journal, I found Swimming at Night quite gripping and the ending perfect. The chapters alternate between Katie's viewpoint and Mia's, as events unfolded on Mia's journey. I thought that the alternating chapters worked very well and the story was handled skillfully.
Highly recommended - Yeah, the ploy of having the main character choose not to immediately read her sister's journal to keep events mysterious is a bit of a stretch, but Swimming at Night is a good story that will make you want to grab a backpack and go explore the world. The writing style is above average -- not brilliant and quote-worthy, but there's just something about the way the book unfolds that makes the pages fly. I gave Swimming at Night a 4.5/5 at Goodreads because it grabbed me, held on and had a satisfying ending. Love, love, love the changing settings.
My thanks to Jessica at Simon & Schuster for the review copy!
In other news -- and this is very important:
I got a new pair of flip-flops, today (Tuesday - yeah, I'm pre-posting, again). They're white. Kind of boring, actually, but they were cheap and had the kind of fabric thingy-that-goes-between-the-toes, which is crucial because everything else causes blisters. Anyway, that's a relief, since we've already crept into the 80s and I discovered our new pebble-dash sidewalk and driveway are Really Freaking Painful to walk across barefoot. And, I keep stepping on sweetgum balls on the deck. Actually, I finally picked those up, but seriously . . . you don't want to step on those suckers.
Poison by Bridget Zinn - Scratch that. I stayed up late finishing this one.
Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick
Loving both, so far.
No idea, but it must have been interesting:
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