Book Review: 2012 Shortlisted: Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home (Review #7)

Rating: 3.5
Swimming Home
A Novel by Deborah Levy
2012/157 pages (115 on the Nook)

I just finished reading Swimming Home, a mere four hours short of tonight’s podcast recording, and a few hours short (I think?) of the announcement of the Man Booker Prize winner.

As others have said, it is a slight book. Slight in thickness, but not necessarily in depth. There is a whole lot going on here. We have a beautiful, often-naked, poet-stalker (the worst of all stalkers, as you know). A newly menstruating teenager. An awful couple. An awfuller couple. A stoned caretaker. An an awesome old lady whom I liked most of all.

Nothing is really what it seems. Ms. Levy dares us to make assumptions about the action to come. Will young Nina experiment with Kitty Finch? Will Kitty sleep with Joe/Jozef? Will Kitty murder Madeleine? Will Madeleine murder Kitty?

The result was not what I expected. I stayed interested to the end, but I was a bit disappointed at the bits of the story that were not wrapped up. The end is enough of a twist that I do not want to reveal it here.

Swimming Home succeeds in putting mental illness and depression on the table and making us digest its implications. The lack of a tight ending bothers me, and results in a respectable but not earth-shattering 3.5 rating.


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