The Swimmers

The Swimmers


Brought to you by Penguin.

From the internationally bestselling author of The Buddha in the Attic

Up above there are wildfires, smog alerts, epic droughts, paper jams, teachers' strikes, insurrections, revolutions, record-breaking summers of unendurable heat, but down below, at the pool, it is always a comfortable eighty-one degrees ...

Alice is one of a group of obsessed recreational swimmers for whom their local swimming pool has become the centre of their lives - a place of unexpected kinship, freedom, and ritual. Until one day a crack appears beneath its surface ...

As cracks also begin to appear in Alice's memory, her husband and daughter are faced with the dilemma of how best to care for her. As Alice clings to the tethers of her past in a Home she feels certain is not her home, her daughter must navigate the newly fractured landscape of their relationship.

A novel about mothers and daughters, grief and memory, love and implacable loss, The Swimmers is spellbinding, incantatory and unforgettable. The finest work yet from a true modern master.


"Otsuka's keenly observed prose manages to capture whole histories in a sweep of gorgeous incantatory sentences" Marie Claire

"Powerfully moving . . . intensely lyrical . . . verges on the edge of poetry" Independent

"A tender, nuanced, empathetic exploration of the sorrows and consolations of a whole generation of women" Telegraph

© Julie Otsuka 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022


  • Her wisdom is staggeringly beautiful, implicating each of us
    The Irish Times

About the author

Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. She pursued a career as a painter for several years before turning to fiction writing at age 30. Her first two novels When the Emperor Was Divine (nominated for the Women's Prize) and The Buddha in the Attic were internationally celebrated. She is a recipient of the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Asian American Literary Award, France's Prix Femina Étranger and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She now lives in New York City. Her latest novel, The Swimmers, published at Fig Tree.
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