Book – ‘Swimming Studies’ by Leanne Shapton

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I picked this up while my lovely daughter was working her way through the teen fiction section at Waterstones the other day, and enjoyed the book so much I wanted to recommend it to you.

The blurb reads ‘As a teenager, Leanne Shapton trained for the Olympic swimming trials: now an artist, she is still drawn inexorably to swimming, in pools and the sea.  What do you do with an all-absorbing activity once it’s past its relevance, and yet you can’t quite give it up?  Swimming Studies is a lyrical, playful work that explores what it is like to move from a world of competition to one of recreation and introspection, giving a sideways glimpse into memory, adolescence, swimming, drawing, obsession and solitude’.

It is a rather whimsical book, the short chapters giving an impression of fleeting powerful feelings left unresolved by not quite achieving at the highest level, and an artist trying to make sense of her formative years in the pool.  For me, it was unlike anything I’ve ever read before and it has stayed with me since I finished it, with pictures and phrases popping into my mind from time to time.  For those interested in swimming and/or art, and a story of the effect of growing up on the edge of brilliance, I recommend it.

Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.


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