The Swimmers

Penguin Random House Audio. Feb. 2022. 4:06 hrs. ISBN 9780593552032. $15. F
The swimmers are a dedicated crowd who love their basement pool to the point of alienating their loved ones. They have built an important social system as they fly through their laps. When a series of mysterious cracks appear, concerns for safety lead to the pool closing. The dedicated natators are kicked out and left treading in no water. The story flips to focus on Alice, who is showing signs of disintegrating memory. She finds herself pulled into her past, including a childhood in a Japanese concentration camp. She moves to a memory care center and flutters in and out of the present, while her daughter is pulled into the story. The key relationship between mother and daughter reveals the decline of Alice through the eyes of her daughter, who is herself dealing with the shortcomings of their connection. Traci Kato-Kiriyama is utterly convincing in each of the phases of this book as she depicts a full range of characters.
VERDICT Otsuka’s (The Buddha in the Attic) remarkable work should have a place in every library.
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