When Gil Coleman runs out of a bookshop to follow a woman he believes to be his long-dead wife, he suffers a terrible fall, mobilizing his daughters to return home to help. Flora and her sister bring him back to the house they grew up in, settling in together amidst a wash of memories and his stacks of thousands of books. As a distraction from her current reality, Flora immerses herself in the other reason she came back– to search for her mother. Swimming Lessons alternates between the perspectives of these two, one preserved in hidden letters written years before, to give us a complete understanding of the consequences of loss and the nagging hope that trails it, which has the power to bring anything and anyone back to life. In urgent, moving prose, Claire Fuller delivers a compelling portrait of a family trapped by the truths, known and unknown, that haunt them.— Caroline Frosh
February 2017 Indie Next List
“With Swimming Lessons, Claire Fuller confirms her place as a writer of exceptional insight and warmth. This tale of a marriage, of a family, and especially of children bearing the brunt of the fallout of betrayals and abandonment, pulls you in and refuses to let you emerge from the lives of its characters until the tale is finished. Even then, it takes time to shake the spell the book creates.
A wonderful follow-up to Our Endless Numbered Days, that explores similar themes through an entirely different story, Swimming Lessons will be a great book for fans of Fuller's first novel and will bring her new fans as well.”
— Anmiryam Budner (E), Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr, PA
Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan. Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he's getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn't realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.