I was given an ARC by NetGalley in return for an unbiased review.
Books are about the readers, as is said several times in Swimming Lessons
, and here it's completely true. The characters resonated in their vibrancy, sadness, charm, deception, and hopelessness.
The story is told in dual POV, in the past via Ingrid's letters, and in the present through her daughter, Flora. There's a fascinating flatness in their lives, and it's not a bad thing, it's a real
thing. The reader learns a lot about the other characters through the two women, and I found the mirrors between the Mother and Daughter were subtle, yet illuminating.
I've seen a comparison to The Great Gatsby
and I think it's apt. Especially during the flashback sequences when you hear about Gil, Johnathan, and Ingrid. But in the present-day, it's much more mundane - at least on the surface. There's still whimsy and a bit of menace - and some airing of dirty laundry, but isn't that what you came here for?
It's not a mystery, it's not a love story, it's a story about life, and books, and art, and well... just living. I'm glad I read it. The characters will live with me a while.