Reading Deborah Levy's Swimming Home is as unsettling as skating across a thinly frozen pond. You know you will fall through, tumbling into the deep, murky waters below the story's surface, but you are never sure exactly when or how. Levy sets her novel, which spans merely eight days - Saturday to Saturday - in a tourist villa shared by two couples in the Alpes-Maritimes. Against the backdrop of this clichéd and innocuous setting, she spins a richly plotted, darkly humorous, and disturbing tale of psychological unraveling. Levy's characters swim rather than skate, but the water into which they dive is no less turbulent.
Staying at the villa are the aging, philandering poet Joseph Jacobs, his war correspondent wife Isabel, and their fourteen-year-old daughter, Nina, who stands at the edge of her sexuality in a cherry-print bikini. Joe has a past, tied to his Holocaust-era ...
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