Twelve years after Ingrid Coleman has disappeared, her dying husband and daughters are still haunted in very different ways by the loss that can't be explained or understood. As they try to come to terms with the unknowable and the inevitable, we read the mother's story through a series of letters she left hidden in books throughout the house. Fuller has written a profound portrait of marriage, motherhood, and loss. It is a beautiful, devastating book. Recommended By Kathi K., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the award-winning and word-of-mouth sensation Our Endless Numbered Days comes an exhilarating literary mystery that will keep readers guessing until the final page.
Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.
Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.
"Saving the best for last with revelations and surprises, Fuller’s well-crafted, intricate tale captures the strengths and shortcomings of ordinary people to show how healing is possible by confronting the darkest places." Library Journal (Starred Review)
"As in her gorgeously harrowing Our Endless Numbered Days, Claire Fuller returns to the territory of a mother’s disappearance and a father’s lies with bewitching and page-turning results. If anything, Swimming Lessons is an even more complex puzzle box of a book, excavating darkly knotted family secrets, intricately cruel betrayals and layers of ambiguous loss. Fuller is so clear eyed, poised and psychologically shrewd in the unfolding of her tale, you will be kept guessing until the final penetrating sentence. An extraordinarily smart and satisfying read." Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
"As she did in her first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days (2015), Fuller proves to be a master of temporal space, taking readers through flashbacks and epistolary chapters at a pace timed to create wonder and suspense. It’s her beautiful prose, though, that rounds this one out, as she delves deeply to examine the legacies of a flawed and passionate marriage." Booklist (Starred Review)
- Elle's Most Anticipated Books by Women
- A Most Anticipated Book at Buzzfeed, Goodreads, NYLON, Bustle, and Reader's Digest
From the author of the award-winning and word-of-mouth sensationOur Endless Numbered Days
comes an exhilarating literary mystery that will keep readers guessing until the final page.
About the Author
Claire Fuller’s debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days was published by Tin House in 2015 and went on to win the Desmond Elliott prize in the UK and was a finalist in the ABA awards. The book has also been sold in twelve other countries. Her second novel, Swimming Lessons will be published in 2017. Claire has written many short stories and pieces of flash fiction several of which have been published and won competitions including the BBC’s Opening Lines. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from The University of Winchester, and lives in Winchester, England with her husband and children.