The Swimmers – Chloe Lane

Published By: Gallic
Pages: 208
Released On: 19/05/2022

When an affair ends badly and takes her career down with it, 26-year-old Erin leaves Auckland to spend the holiday weekend with her aunt, uncle, and terminally ill mother at their suburban family home. On arrival she learns that her mother has decided to take matters into her own hands and end her life – the following Tuesday.

Tasked with fulfilling her mother’s final wishes, Erin can only do her imperfect best to navigate difficult feelings, an eccentric neighbourhood, and her complicated family of former competitive swimmers. She must summon the strength she would normally find in the water as she prepares for the loss of the fiery, independent woman who raised her alone, and one last swim together in the cold New Zealand sea.


Thanks to Gallic for the gifted copy of this book.

As someone who is living with a neurological disability, this book took hold of my heartstrings right from the off with a force I’ve not experienced in literature before. It is honest and brutal and raw, but it’s true, there’s a heart and soul within.

At first I didn’t understand the link between the main plot and the swimming, but then I thought there is the thought of pushing through, treading the depths, coming up for air and surviving.

I admit the main character of Erin did not endear herself to me for about 95% of the book, I wasn’t a fan of her at all. But she did redeem herself towards the end. I felt she was running throughout the whole book (unsurprisingly) but she comes back to reality and what is needed from her just in time.

This is a powerhouse of emotion, 200 pages of narrative and feelings that have the power to break you right from the off.

At times it is uncomfortable to read, our protagonist was putting herself in some unpleasant and claustrophobic situations, but I do admit it seemed acceptable in the context. But as a reader, I felt I wanted to guide her through it but were just observing it all from a distance.

Assisted suicide is a controversial subject in many countries – including New Zealand where the book is set and in England where I am – but I think this book opens up a conversation on an important topic so often swept under the carpet.

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