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Learning To Swim

Learning To Swim

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Hotjar sets this cookie to know whether a user is included in the data sampling defined by the site's daily session limit. An intelligent and escapist read - well written and funny" Daily Express "Modern, intelligently observed and highly original" Daily Mail "A spirited account of growing up and falling in love" Good Housekeeping "This delicious novel - is a joy from beginning to end - a perfect novel" Lisa Jewell "Engagingly written" Prima You may also be interested in. Abigail Jex, a thirty-something cellist playing with a provincial orchestra, is surprised when, at a reception after one of her engagements, she meets Marcus Radley (Rad) - a face from her past and someone she has not seen for thirteen years.

It’s a tribute to the butterfly effect - what major consequences and echoes can be produced by a series of minor events in the past. Abigail, when we meet her, is a cellist in an established orchestra and it is not until she attends an after show party and is introduced to Marcus Radley that we start to get a glimpse into the life of this young woman. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. Just finishing up an inadvertent rereading of this after 20 or so years, and had no recollection of it at all until I reached a line on page 323 - “She wears so much face powder nowadays it’s a bit like kissing a bap” - and I remembered having to look up what a bap was and appreciating the tactile impact of that image.

On the other hand certain episodes seemed unlikely to me, even for the Radleys, in particular the scene which causes Rad to be so angry with Abigail. And very few of them are spared, since this is also a paean to youthful stupidity and inexperience and inattentive parenting.

It is a great examination of how the decisions we made, and the people we meet, in our teenage years can shape our future (and of how things don't always turn out as we expect). Abigail thought she had banished the ghost of her life with them and the catastrophe that ended it, but thirteen years later a chance encounter forces her to acknowledge that the spell is far from broken. She studied English at Oxford and spent the year after graduating in New Zealand, where she wrote her first novel, Uncertain Terms, published when she was 25.I'm deducting half a star because Abigail's mother wasn't entirely consistent- but maybe she just naturally mellowed with age? The focus really is on Abigail's shifting relationship to those around her, and though the plot was a little rushed towards the end it had a hopeful quality to it that I found quite endearing. Added to that the story features many ideas that she's used in other novels, an unusual family, an affair, a long lost lover etc. It’s a story about friendship and inter-family relationships and although the pace is fairly slow at times the author draws you in with her descriptive style of writing.

As she becomes more deeply enmeshed within the Radley family, things take an unfortunate turn coinciding with a shocking discovery about her own family.These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc. She has a talent for creating characters who are not only lifelike and eccentric, but immensely believable, and who have stayed with me long after I closed the book. If you are new to this author I strongly recommend "In a Good Light" as well as "Small Pleasures" instead.

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