Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Swimming Lessons
By Claire Fuller
Published by Fig Tree (26 January 2017)

Publisher's description
'Gil Coleman looked down from the window and saw his dead wife standing on the pavement below.'
Gil's wife, Ingrid has been missing, presumed drowned, for twelve years. 
A possible sighting brings their children, Nan and Flora, home. Together they begin to confront the mystery of their mother. Is Ingrid dead? Or did she leave? And do the letters hidden within Gil's books hold the answer to the truth behind his marriage, a truth hidden from everyone including his own children? 

My verdict
Swimming Lessons is an ideal book club read, an emotional tale about love and loss that will certainly prompt discussion.

This slow burner is the story of an unconventional marriage between ageing author Gil and his wife Ingrid, who vanished one day, leaving Gil to bring up their two daughters alone. Twelve years on, the family is still in crisis, none of them knowing what happened to their wife and mother. Gil finds hidden letters written by Ingrid, each one revealing her insights into their lives, from their first meeting to just before she disappeared.

Claire Fuller writes with impeccable detail about the little things most people don't even notice yet bring people and places to life. Her evocative prose is stunning and easy to read, with plenty of charm, touching on thought-provoking issues. I can't say I found the characters particularly likeable, but they were definitely believable. I found Ingrid to be the most well drawn character of all, as the sadness in her heart is revealed through her writing - a life full of love, hopes and dreams, but also regrets.

Cleverly, the title of the books in which the letters are hidden give a subtle hint about the contents of each letter. Swimming Lessons has certainly been planned, plotted and executed with precision.

I received an Advance Reader Copy, but also bought my own copy of the book.

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