The Swimmer: Quick Reads 2022 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
A new novel from the acclaimed author and broadcaster as part of Quick Reads 2022 and World Book Night.
Helen is a retired teacher living on the Irish coast. She enjoys the peace and quiet—despite the burden of Margaret, her unpleasant sister. Margaret arrived three years ago for a short holiday but somehow managed to stay and worm her way into Helen's life.
One day, Helen sees a man struggling in the sea and decides to investigate. She doesn't quite know what it is, but something about it feels very strange....
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|Listening Length||1 hour and 37 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||14 April 2022|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 2,990 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
20 in Small Town & Rural Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
228 in Small Town & Rural Fiction (Books)
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I tend to be wary of reading books by celebrities who have made their name doing something else. For that reason I had thus far avoided reading any of Graham Norton's novels. When I saw that he was going to be writing one of this year's "Quick Reads" I thought that would be an ideal opportunity to dip a toe into the water and sample his work.
"The Swimmer" is only 80 pages long, so I won't go into a plot summary, otherwise this review may turn out to be longer than the short story itself! I found it almost impossible to read this without hearing Graham Norton's voice in my head, which is not a negative point, merely an observation. Stylistically, this struck me as very simplistic. I don't know if this is typical of the author's writing in general, or whether it is an approach he adopted specifically for this shorter form of book.
I am a huge admirer of a well-written short story. There is a real skill in being able to craft a properly rounded story within only a hundred or so pages. Sadly, this particular one is no more than okay and is certainly not one of the better examples of a short story. Would I be tempted to go out and read a full length Graham Norton novel now? Well, I wouldn't totally rule it out, at some point - but I certainly won't be rushing to the shops to buy up his back catalogue.
From the start, Graham Norton sets us up with a really keen sense of time, place and character, and with a wonderful flow to the narrative, the book really held my attention. I found myself at once warming to the character of Helen and becoming as intrigued as she was about what was going on. Being slightly older as a character, she is quite steady and you feel that immediate trust in her instincts, as well as having the odd spidey-sense of my own tingling away. Did I perhaps guess where this story was heading. Certainly there were some suspicions - probably natural under the circumstances, and especially as more clues start to be revealed. Did I expect or anticipate everything that came to pass? Most definitely not, the author keeping vital information hidden until just the right moment in time to feed the mystery and my desire to know more of what was going on.
For a short taster of the author's writing this has certainly made me want to read more. With a mystery on the cosier side of crime, it still really makes a mark and with some moments of humour in amongst the sadness, and authentic voice in Helen and those around her, it's definitely worth a read
Usually I find that shorts lack something - maybe plot, character development, connection to what I am reading, and often leave me unsatisfied and wanting more. But here, the author has done a bang up job of delivering me a story that both interested and intrigued, holding me captive for the duration, and keeping me guessing all the way through. But a plot is nothing without some characters to play it out. And here again, the author has excelled with his expertise of creating characters that are not only well drawn but also both are east to connect to and which develop well throughout the book. No mean feat in my opinion with a short. Usually I only read shorts which contain characters I already know and have some connection to - lie an inbetweenie in a series. But I suffered nothing like that here.
All in all, a quick and easy read that I recommend to everyone no matter how much, or little, you usually read...
The Swimmer is a short read but there is so much on offer, great characters, an atmospheric read and an intriguing mystery.
The main character Helen is sitting looking out at the ocean, enjoying some time to herself when she spots an unknown swimmer. The stranger never returns from the ocean and is assumed to have died in the sea. For some reason Helen does not feel comfortable with this assumption and won’t let things lie.
The characters are the real plus point for me in Graham Norton’s novels, interesting and easy to imagine. A quick read but so enjoyable.
I was disappointed in the adaptation of his book Holding - because it didn't follow the story exactly, but more because I had built such strong pictures of all the characters that the ones in the series just didn't match up. I hated the first episode but did persevere and in the end I was glad I did as it got better - even though still not as good as the book!