Julie Otsuka

The Swimmers

Fiction - Literary

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From the award winning author of The Buddha in the Attic and When the Emperor Was Divine, a tour de force of economy, precision, and emotional power about what happens to a group of obsessed recreational swimmers when a crack appears at the bottom of their local pool.

The swimmers are unknown to each other except through their private routines (slow lane, fast lane), and the solace each takes in their morning or afternoon laps. But when a crack appears at the bottom of the pool, they are cast out into an unforgiving world without comfort or relief.
One of these swimmers is Alice, who is slowly losing her memory. For Alice, the pool was a final stand against the darkness of her encroaching dementia. Without the fellowship of other swimmers and the routine of her daily laps she is plunged into dislocation and chaos, swept into memories of her childhood and the Japanese internment camp in which she spent the war. Narrated by Alice's daughter, who witnesses her stark and devastating decline, The Swimmers is a searing, intimate story of mothers and daughters, and the sorrows of implacable loss, written in spellbinding, incantatory prose.
The most commanding and unforgettable work yet from a modern master.