Title: Swimming at Night
Author: Lucy Clarke
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Themes: Sibling Rivalry, Family, Death, Identity,
Setting: England, United States, Australia, Bali
Publisher/Publication Date: Touchstone/March 12, 2013
Source: Net Galley
Rating: Four out of Five Stars
Finished/Not Finished: Finished
One-sentence summary: An older sisters goes on a journey to attempt to find answers relating to her younger sister's violent death.
Cover Art: Neutral on the cover
Try this book if you liked...: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer or The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
Why did I get this book?: I liked the summary, and I am a fan of realistic fiction which deals with family relationships.
"People go traveling for two reasons: because they are searching for something, or they are running from something." Thus begins the reader's journey with Katie Greene to discover the truth behind her sister's death. In Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke, Katie travels in search of something, answers, while her dead sister, Mia, travels were to escape her actions and to find her identity. The novel opens with the startling revelation that Mia, the younger Greene sister, is dead from an apparent suicide. This sends her older sister, Katie, into a tail spin. Her disbelief that Mia's death is in fact a suicide starts the long search to discover answers.
Katie's journey has her leaving her fiancée just months before they are to be married, quitting her job, and traveling to several continents in search of answers to her sister's death. Suffice it to say the two siblings are nothing alike. Katie who is afraid of flying and considered the practical sister is forced to leave her safe life to follow the only thing she has left of her sister, Mia's travel journal. The journal sends Katie to youth hostels all over the world and ultimately to the answers she is seeking. The novel switches from Katie's travels to Mia's travels through the use of the journal. The duel storyline is handled well through the entries, and allows the reader to feel they have traveled with both sisters. Not having traveled to many of the places in the novel, I felt Lucy Clarke deftly created each location so that I conjured it up easily in my minds-eye. The road to discovery is long and arduous and filled with twists and heartache for both sisters. The answers each sister finds are not predictable, which is what makes the novel enjoyable.
People go traveling for two reasons: because they are searching for something, or they are running from something.
Katie's world is shattered by the news that her headstrong and bohemian younger sister, Mia, has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Bali. The authorities say that Mia jumped--that her death was a suicide.
Although they'd hardly spoken to each other since Mia suddenly left on an around-the-world trip six months earlier, Katie refuses to accept that her sister would have taken her own life. Distraught that they never made peace, Katie leaves her orderly, sheltered life in London behind and embarks on a journey to find out the truth. With only the entries in Mia's travel journal as her guide, Katie retraces the last few months of her sister's life and, page by page, country by country, begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her death. . . .
Weaving together the exotic settings and suspenseful twists of Alex Garland's The Beach with a powerful tale of familial love in the spirit of Rosamund Lupton's Sister, Swimming at Night is a fast-paced, accomplished, and gripping debut novel of secrets, loss, and forgiveness.
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