Swimming to Ithaca

Swimming to Ithaca

3.36 (122 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
By (author) 

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As Dee Denham, once a beautiful and beloved wife, the toast of colonial Cyprus, lies dying, her former life seems unimaginably distant. And then out of the blue Dee speaks to her son Thomas, sitting at her bedside: she tells him that her illness is a punishment. Compelled by a grief he cannot articulate and a confused childhood memory of betrayal, as Thomas begins the process of dismantling his mother's life he finds himself searching for the meaning of her last words. Embarked on a dangerous liaison of his own, he searches through faded photographs and love letters, seeks out survivors and examines his own imperfect remembrance, and suddenly a whole vanished world comes to life. The restless, seductive island of Cyprus at the end of Empire, a place of oleander and carob trees, cocktails at the Harbour Club and adultery in shuttered bedrooms, peopled by ghostly admirers and conspirators, lovers and spies. With gathering momentum Dee's story unfolds, an intimate history of violence and tenderness for which Thomas finds himself quite unprepared, and in the background the distant, ominous roar of approaching disaster. A vivid, precise evocation of the past and a deft and sensitive examination of the dangerous power of memory, Swimming to Ithaca sets fragile human relationships against the heedless, unstoppable force of history and sheds new light on both.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 144 x 216 x 34mm | 480.82g
  • Little, Brown & Company
  • New York, United States
  • 0316730998
  • 9780316730990

Review quote

'The Cypriot narrative blooms with life, a certain intrigue and some sharply drawn characters' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'Conjures up a 1950s world of carob trees, cocktails and rebellion' THE TIMES 'A gripping read' SUNDAY TIMESshow more

About Simon Mawer

Simon Mawer was born in 1948 in England, and spent his childhood there, in Cyprus and in Malta. He now lives with his wife and two children in Italy, and teaches at the English School in Rome.show more

Rating details

122 ratings
3.36 out of 5 stars
5 12% (15)
4 37% (45)
3 32% (39)
2 13% (16)
1 6% (7)
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