Review 1615: Swimming Lessons

Best of Ten!
I was interested in reading Swimming Lessons when it came out, but I never actually got hold of a copy. Then I read Fuller’s next novel, Bitter Orange, and liked it so much that I had to read Swimming Lessons.

Gil Colman, a famous writer who hasn’t written anything for years, is now elderly and dying of cancer. He has discovered letters from Ingrid, his wife who was presumed drowned years ago, tucked away in his thousands of books, many of which were removed from his house by his daughter Nan and sold to a bookstore. He is in the bookstore, having discovered one of the notes, when he thinks he sees Ingrid out in the street. Rushing after her, he gets injured.

That is the setup of the novel. From there, chapters alternate between the letters telling the story of their marriage from Ingrid’s point of view and Gil’s daughter Flora’s point of view as she returns home because her father is in the hospital. She tries to learn more about Ingrid, who she believes is alive. Although the sections about the current time and Flora’s struggles are interesting, most enthralling are Ingrid’s letters to her husband, describing a marriage in which, as a naïve girl thirty years Gil’s junior, she falls into a life she does not want, of marriage and children, to a husband who is serially unfaithful, and who, in a way, co-opts her past.

This is a fascinating and haunting story about the secrets of a marriage.

Related Posts

Bitter Orange

The Wife

The World’s Wife

7 thoughts on “Review 1615: Swimming Lessons

    • whatmeread February 15, 2021 / 4:35 pm

      Yes, it’s even more interesting than you think!

  1. Lisbeth Ekelöf February 16, 2021 / 4:36 am

    Sounds really interesting. It has got a place on my wish list.

  2. Davida Chazan February 16, 2021 / 6:00 am

    Sounds like I should be reading this author.

    • whatmeread February 16, 2021 / 10:27 am

      I think so. I have read three by her now (the last not reviewed yet) and thought they were all really good.

  3. ilovedays February 26, 2021 / 8:23 pm

    Would be a good book for Literary Wives! Which is your favorite by this author so far?

    • whatmeread February 26, 2021 / 9:15 pm

      Yes, it would! I think this one, although I liked Bitter Orange a lot and the third book that I haven’t reviewed yet.

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