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  • Published: 31 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241995006
  • Imprint: Penguin Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $18.00

The Swimmers

A bold and lyrical novel about memory, love, a swimming pool - and the many ways we lose and find each other again

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.

  • Published: 31 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241995006
  • Imprint: Penguin Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $18.00

About the author

Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. She is the author of the novel When the Emperor Was Divine and a recipient of the Asian American Literary Award, the American Library Association Alex Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in New York City.

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Praise for The Swimmers

Here comes the new Julie Otsuka novel, so we can begin to live again

Colson Whitehead, author of Harlem Shuffle

Heartbreaking and astoundingly good

Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers

Stylistically ambitious and deeply moving

Kirkus Reviews

A goddamn heartbreaker

Emma Straub, author of The Vacationers

An unforgettable novel about mothers and daughters by a spellbinding talent

Daily Mail

A story of memory loss and its fallout for family, and of the power of pool friendship. Glittering and tender.

Sainsbury's Magazine

As a regular and sedate swimmer, I loved this novel...A quiet and thoughtful story about the small, steady joys of life and how quickly and irrevocably they can become disrupted.

Red Magazine

A story about mothers and daughters, love and loss, it will make you reconsider what's truly important in life

Kintsugi Magazine

Haunting, ironic and poetic in its resonance, this slender volume is a must-read...Don't miss this beautifully written, heartfelt, wry and wistful exploration of loss.

Woman & Home

"The Swimmers" is an exquisite companion. Though it doesn't answer the unanswerable, the novel's quiet insistence resonates: that it is our perfectly ordinary proclivities that make us who we are.

New York Times

I'm in awe of how this beautiful, graceful novel can hold so much grief and loss and love in its pages: a literary gem.

Nicci Gerard, author of Soham: A Story Of Our Times

Haunting, ironic and poetic in its resonance, this slender volume is a must-read

Woman's Weekly

With shrewd characterisation and original observations, Otsuka tells a tale of grief and memory that's quietly observed yet awash with dark humour and wit.


What makes a good life? What is a good death? The answers to these questions shimmer elusively just below the surface of The Swimmers


Amid an incantatory litany of totalising losses, there are snapshots of a unique life with all its complications. Superbly realised and incredibly moving

Daily Mail

Otsuka's slender, stylistically ambitious third novel is a marvel, capturing the hypnotic rhythm of lane-swimming and the devastating decline of memory and connection as dementia takes hold...Heartbreakingly powerful

Mail on Sunday, Best New Fiction

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