The Swimmer by Graham Norton – Book review

I just love an audiobook narrated by Graham Norton and The Swimmer, his latest short but sweet slice of fiction does not disappoint. The Swimmer is a new instalment in The Reading Agency’s Quick Reads series. A fantastic initiative that sees brilliant authors write novellas in their unique voice to encourage people to read.

This is actually the second little Quick Reads book I’ve loved, the other was The Baby is Mine by Oyinkan Braithwaite. There’s an absolute skill in conveying emotion and a satisfying story arc in around 100 pages, as both these books demonstrate.

Who is the swimmer?

Right, back to The Swimmer! In this story, we meet retired school teacher, Helen who has retired to her dream home on the Irish coast in West Cork. She has a view of the sea and every day enjoys sitting outside her house, watching the sea while she reads or eats.

One day, she sees a man go into the water for a swim and never return. She reports this to the local police and they try to find out what happened.

I loved the characterisation of Helen and her crotchety sister Margaret, her struggle with her emotions and the little twist at the end of the story.

The wonderful tone that Graham infuses in all his novels is present here: his combination of succinct storytelling (with a hidden secret) and 3D characters with depth make his books so enjoyable.

My only complaint is that I wanted The Swimmer to be longer! Atmospheric and emotive, I could happily have spend many more hours in Helen’s company.

Graham has a new full length novel out later this year and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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