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Swim Back to Meby Ann Packer
Synopses & Reviews
From the best-selling author of Songs Without Words and The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, her strongest work yet—a collection of burnished, impossible-to-put down narratives framed by two stunning, linked novellas.
A wife struggles to make sense of her husband’s sudden disappearance. A mother mourns her teenage son through the music collection he left behind. A woman shepherds her estranged parents through her brother’s wedding and reflects on the year her family collapsed. A young man comes to grips with the joy—and vulnerability—of impending fatherhood. And, in the masterly opening novella, two teenagers from very different families—one a tightly knit foursome, the other a father and son who share little more than having been abandoned by the same woman—forge a sustaining friendship, only to discover the disruptive and unsettling power of sex.
Swim Back to Me showcases one of our most vibrant talents at the height of her powers—a book that belongs beside Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge and Amy Bloom’s Where the God of Love Hangs Out.
"Packer's sterling collection is framed by two novellas. In the opener, 'Walk for Mankind,' teenager Richard Appleby describes his bittersweet relationship with Sasha Horowitz, a rebellious, risk-taking 14-year-old, who has a clandestine affair with a drug dealer. Sasha's behavior is a reaction to her controlling and hyper-charming father, an English professor who's spiraling downward professionally and personally. 'Things Said or Done' is set three decades later, when Sasha, now 51 and divorced, has become Richard's caretaker, forced to deal with his self-destructive, narcissistic personality while recognizing the ways in which they are alike. Packer's talents are evident in these psychologically astute novellas, and also in the stories in between. 'Molten' conveys a mother's grief over her adolescent son's senseless death; 'Dwell Time' features a protagonist's happy second marriage — until her husband disappears. In the affecting 'Her First Born,' a new father finally understands his wife's attachment to the memory of her first child, who died. The only misstep is 'Jump,' whose lead character, a rich man's son who fakes an underprivileged background to work in a photocopy shop, lacks credibility. Packer (The Dive from Clausen's Pier) presents complex human relationships with unsentimental compassion. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Packer's sterling collection of stories is framed by two novellas: "Walk for Mankind" about teenager Richard Appleby and his bittersweet relationship with Sasha Horowitz, a rebellious, risk-taking 14-year-old, who has a clandestine affair with a drug dealer; and, "Things Said or Done" set three decades later, when Sasha, now 51 and divorced, has become Richard's caretaker.
About the Author
Ann Packer is the author of two best-selling novels, Songs Without Words and The Dive from Clausen's Pier, the latter of which received a Great Lakes Book Award, an American Library Association Award, and the Kate Chopin Literary Award. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Vogue, and Real Simple. Also the author of Mendocino and Other Stories, she lives in northern California with her family.
Table of Contents
Walk for mankind — Molten — Jump — Dwell time — Her firstborn — Things said or done.
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