34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Post-Freudian tale of existential angst and death,
This review is from: Swimming Home (Paperback)
This is a very short book but a dense one written in surreal, hypnotic and lyrical style. If you're looking for something realistic with a taut and defined narrative and `plot' then this may well be one to avoid. Concerned with post-Freudian ideas of desire and death, this is critically- and theoretically-informed in its concern with coherence and incoherence, surface and substance, the tension between the word and what is always unsayable. If this is already starting to irritate you, then this is certainly a book to avoid!
In lots of ways this is a typical Booker-list book: its appeal is an intellectual rather than an emotional one. There are some lovely images and phrases here ("Joe's poetry is more like a conversation with me than anything else... we are in nerve-contact"; `she was as receptive as it was possible to be, an explorer, an adventurer, a nightmare. Every moment with her was an emergency'), and the text itself exposes the latent menace in everyday objects: a toy rabbit, sugar mice, uneven walls.
There are some moments where the text becomes a little too obviously sign-posted for significance (the arms-dealer friend with his guns; the daughter who starts menstruating; the swimming pool) but overall this is a tense and edgy read concerned with existential unease: threatening, perilous and anxious.