Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

"Swimming Home" by Deborah Levy (And Other Stories, 2011)

An unstable Kitty Finch (a budding poet) disrupts a small group's holiday. She becomes a device for the wife to precipitate a divorce, and an inspiration for the husband, JHJ (Joe, Jozef - a famous poet). On p.53 Jurgen predicts that "she will murder them all with the fat man's guns". On p.89, JHJ thinks "He could see her on a British beach with a Thermos of tea in her bag, dodging the cold waves, tracing her name in the sand, looking out at the nuclear power station in the distance.".

E.T. appears. which isn't the only form that the yearning for "home" takes -

  • The poem that Kitty wants JHJ to read is called "Swimming Home"
  • "she explained that she had telephoned Kitty's mother, who would be arriving early on Sunday morning. Mrs Finch would drive from the airport to the villa to collect her daughter and take her home" (p.134)
  • "She was driving too fast on this road that had once been a forest. Early humans had lived in it. They studied fire and the movement of the sun. They read the clouds and the moon and tried to understand the human mind. His father had tried to melt him into a Polish forest when he was five years old. He knew he must leave no trace of his existence because he must never find his way home. That was what his father had told him. You cannot come home." (p.143)
  • "I know what you're thinking. Life is only worth living because we hope it will get better and we'll all get home safely. You did not get home at all. That is why I am here. Jozef." (p.146)

The first section is repeated with variations on p.143.

It's multi-pov. A good read.

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