Swimming Underwater

Swimming Underwater

2.41 (12 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

When Ruth and Gray meet as children while their parents play at being adults in a rackety old Bohemian house, an electricity passes between them that neither will ever forget. Their paths soon separate as Gray moves to Paris with his girlfriend, and Ruth finds Liam, a sensible and long-suffering friend with whom she falls in love. But Ruth's eccentric upbringing lingers into adulthood. Affected by her old Aunt Jane's passion for poetry, Ruth embarks on a comprehensive book of Twentieth Century poets' lives. Soon, Ruth's thoughts become haunted by the lives of the poets and dreamers she writes about, as the self-destructive talents of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Philip Larkin begin to influence her in unexpected ways. Until one day, she meets Gray, and their historic chemistry is fired up once again. Joughin's exquisite sense of place, her comic eye and wry, erotic prose are prime ingredients in this page-turning novel full of vivid characters, elegance and humanity.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 129 x 200 x 21mm | 222g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0552771546
  • 9780552771542
  • 1,188,289

Review quote

"'Many things are left unsaid in Sheena Joughin's Swimming Underwater and the effect is all the more resonant and intriguing...superb control'" Elizabeth Buchan, Sunday Times "A carefully charged novel about insiders, outsiders and the unsayable things and passions in any life...As with her first novel, something comes together here with a kind of grace. When it does, the effect is both philosophical and a pleasure...beautifully underplayed" Ali Smith, The Guardian "An admirably muted novel combining graceful description with piquant observation ... a fine second novel from a perceptive author" TLS "Don't miss this, a take on the idea that the course of true love never runs smooth" Red "'[Joughin] displays her short-story writing gift for minute observation, starting slowly with the dysfunctional relationship between Ruth and Liam. Joughin's acute sensitivity to language and idiosyncratic behaviour makes this a coolly refreshing read'" Glasgow Heraldshow more

About Sheena Joughin

Sheena Joughin has twice been the winner of the London Short Story Competition, and is a regular contributor to The Times Literary Supplement. Her first novel, Things to do Indoors, was published by Doubleday in 2003. She lives in West London with her son.show more

Review Text

"An admirably muted novel combining graceful description with piquant observation ... a fine second novel from a perceptive author"show more

Back cover copy

'Combines graceful description with piquant observation...A fine novel from a perceptive author' Times Literary Supplement In the sticky summer of 1998, Ruth is paying her rent by writing a book about poets. In between moments of inspiration, she visits a bedridden friend, and bonds with her young son who faces a motherless future just like Ruth herself did. Vivid memories of late-afternoon gatherings filled with gossip, cigarettes, poetry and gin come flooding back, renewing an old anxiety for Ruth - her destructive longing for the enigmatic Gray. Just as Ruth begins to accept her eccentric past, Gray comes back into her life, to stir up complicated feelings that throw her search for normality seriously off course... 'A carefully charged novel about insiders, outsiders and the unsayable things and passions in any life ...both philosophical and a pleasure' Guardian 'Resonant and intriguing' Sunday Times 'Don't miss this, a take on the idea that the course of true love never runs smooth' Red 'Like immersing yourself in a cool pool at a hazy summer party' Time Outshow more

Rating details

12 ratings
2.41 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 17% (2)
3 33% (4)
2 25% (3)
1 25% (3)
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