Friday, July 31, 2009

"Gosh, I could do with a bathe"

At the Guardian, John Mullan lists ten of the best literary swimming scenes!

(Hmmm, I am thinking he has not read Andre Aciman's Call Me By Your Name, or it would be there too...)

In a happy development, I received a copy of the Folio Society edition of The Go-Between as a birthday present - time for a re-read, I think...

(Aciman alert: Eight White Nights: A Novel will be published in February 2010, certainly on my list of most desired things....)

(Oh, I stopped by the office today to take care of several mundane and long-overdue administrative tasks and discovered several things in my mailbox of UTTER DELIGHTFULNESS - namely, new books by Charlie Williams and Peter Temple - if I have self-control, I will save them for the Caymanian interlude that begins next Thursday, but they may prove IRRESISTIBLE!)


  1. "I sat in the sun and watched the bathers on the beach. They looked very small. After a while I stood up, gripped with my toes on the edge of the raft as it tipped with my weight, and dove cleanly and deeply, to come up through the lightening water, blew the salt water out of my head, and swam slowly and steadily to the shore."

    -The Sun Also Rises, p. 242.

    1) I think the raft tipping with his weight makes the passage.
    2) Blew water out of his head? Huh? Like a whale?
    3) There is actually a better swimming passage on the previous page, but it's too long to type!

  2. Iris Murdoch has a couple of great swimming scenes--an extremely dramatic one in The Nice and the Good, when a character has to rescue a boy who's been trapped in a sea cave by rising water, and another in . . . Nuns and Soldiers, maybe, when a young man falls into a rushing river in France that ducks under a rock formation and carries him underground unexpectedly for a while.

    Not a surprise, I suppose, since Murdoch loved to swim.