Swim Back to Me: Book summary and reviews of Swim Back to Me by Ann Packer

Swim Back to Me

by Ann Packer

Swim Back to Me
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2011
    240 pages
    Genre: Short Stories & Essays

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Book Summary

From Ann Packer, author of the New York Times best-selling novels The Dive from Clausen's Pier and Songs Without Words, a collection of burnished, emotionally searing stories, framed by two unforgettable linked narratives that express the transformation of a single family over the course of a lifetime.

A wife struggles to make sense of her husband's sudden disappearance. A mother mourns her teenage son through the music collection he left behind. A woman shepherds her estranged parents through her brother's wedding and reflects on the year her family collapsed. A young man comes to grips with the joy - and vulnerability - of fatherhood. And, in the masterly opening novella, two teenagers from very different families forge a sustaining friendship, only to discover the disruptive and unsettling power of sex.

Ann Packer is one of our most talented archivists of family life, with its hidden crevasses and unforeseeable perils, and in these stories she explores the moral predicaments that define our social and emotional lives, the frailty of ordinary grace, and the ways in which we are shattered and remade by loss. With Swim Back to Me, she delivers shimmering psychological precision, unfailing intelligence, and page-turning drama: her most enticing work yet.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Packer presents complex human relationships with unsentimental compassion." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Touching, tender and true… Her prose is deceptively simple, her insights always complex… Acknowledging the hurt and sorrow our loved ones bring us, the author never forgets to trace the joys of intimacy as well." - Kirkus Reviews

"The narratives in Swim Back to Me add up to a satisfying whole that will linger in the mind." - BookPage

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Author Information

Ann Packer Author Biography

© Elena Seibert

Ann Packer was born in Stanford, California, in 1959, and grew up near Stanford University, where her parents were professors. She attended Yale University and then, after five years working at a publishing company in New York, she went on to the Iowa Writers Workshop, selling her first short story to The New Yorker a few weeks before receiving her degree. A fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing followed, and she spent two years living in Madison, Wisconsin, which would later become the setting of her first novel, The Dive from Clausen's Pier.

While living in Wisconsin, Packer published short stories in literary magazines and had a story chosen for inclusion in the annual O. Henry Awards prize stories anthology. With support from the Michener-Copernicus Society of ...

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