Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review: The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw

The Swimming Pool
When I first heard of this book, it took some effort to put the novel of the same name by Madeleine Wickham out of my mind. (it's my favorite of her women's fiction books) Once I was able to do that, though, I dove into this one and loved it.

The Swimming Pool is a different sort of book in structure. While there is a linear fashion in which the story is told, I would say the central unifying point of the story is a simple summer party at a pool. The pool representing the hidden depths of each character in the story. At this point, this beginning of the tale that is woven in the novel, each character has yet to embark on their personal journey. And we only get flashes from each significant character throughout the novel.

There are books where this sort of going and back and forth through time feels gimmicky and I find myself impatient. But there wasn't a second of The Swimming Pool that I didn't savor due to LeCraw's natural, precise, and gorgeous prose. Instead, the flashes through time felt like ripples going out in a pool, each bit of story a repercussion of poor decisions made.

LeCraw fully fleshes out her characters and their pain, confusion, desire, and rage leaps off the page. I truly felt like I was getting an intimate glimpse into the inner workings of these character's minds.

I'm hesitant to give a synopsis of the book, because I wish I hadn't read one. Instead, I'll simply say this is a story of how some people come to terms with their loss, with secrets, with the ways in which they have deceived each other.

And it's the story of how we long to know each other, how we long to fill in all our brokenness with each other, how we pass by each other trying to meet a common goal but never quite meet. Our longing to belong, to be a part of something, to know and to possess. It's a bit heartrending in this regard.

Once again, the writing is beautiful and breathes with the emotions of the characters. It's a book to be savored.

Rating: 4.75/5
Things You Might Want to Know: sex and profanity
Source of Book: ARC received from publisher
Publisher: DoubleDay (Random House)


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