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The Swimming Pool Season Paperback – 1 May 2003

3.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (1 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099428253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099428251
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A love story in the very best sense of the phrase...a very good novel as well as an enjoyable one" (Literary Review)

"A tense and steamy narrative" (Times Literary Supplement)

"A patchwork of pain and longing stitched into a satisfying pattern by Rose Tremain's humour and depth of sympathy" (Mail on Sunday)

Book Description

'Sharp, elegant, pure' Mail on Sunday

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Top Customer Reviews

By Alexander Bryce TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rose Tremain never fails to surprise me with her ability to write convincingly about different subjects set in different times and different locations. Here it is roughly the present time ;set in academic, sophisticated Oxford and the rural, French small village of Pomerac.
Both locations, populated with a variety of interesting at times outrageous characters, are linked by the main characters; Larry and his wife Miriam. Their relationship is, not for the first time, strained. She takes off to nurse her sick mother in Oxford and he throws himself into the task of building a swimming pool in Pomerac. Perhaps this venture can prove his worth and re-establish his failed business and shakey marriage.
There are plenty of side plots and relationships which keep the reader's interest. There is humor often using the Polish Nadia with her disastrous attempts at English to this end, but behind her comic facade lies sad guilt. It is an old device to have a foreigner speaking funny for comic effect, but when done well, as is the case here, it works and works well.
I have yet to be disappointed by Rose Tremain [see my reports on Sacred Country and The Colour]. I look forward to reading more by her and without reserve recommend this work .
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By A Customer on 16 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
This novel is obviously not one of Rose Tremain's most profound, but her writing is as good as usual, as is her understanding of human nature. In a way, this can be read as a quite light-hearted exploration of different relationships and personalities.
My only complaint is that Tremain provides a comic touch in this novel by using the truly outdated stereotype of the 'foreigner': a Polish character who talks about herself using the third person and makes ridiculous over emotional scenes which would only be credible in a comic book. Truly irritating.
Otherwise, I would recommend this book to people who'd like to have something light to read at the beach.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Swimming Pool Season is one of Tremain's early novels but despite that it definitely has the style that I have come to recognise after reading several other of her books. It's difficult to imagine anyone who has a love of reading the written word not being entranced by Tremain's eloquent prose. What carries The Swimming Pool Season is the characters, which is a good job as there isn't much of a plot. However, there is a story, that of a diverse group of people living in rural France, all with their own unique identity. Tremain is brilliant at characters, and with her exquisite writing style her books are always worth ready regardless of the plot (if, indeed there is one). Particularly worthy of mention is Nadia, whose unintentionally hilarious rendition of the English language provides many of the lighter moments in a novel that is often tinged with sadness. Not Rose Tremain's best, but as always a pleasure.
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Format: Paperback
Tremain in many ways, though a valued writer, is seriously under-rated. She is capable of writing many different books; definitely no one-trick pony. When I started this book I was initially a little wary, the start seemed a little orotund, but fairly quickly I realised this was the 'style' of the first French set section; the writing was rather pictorial, a bit 'Jean de Floret'. The first English section was more cerebral (set in Oxford academia); once again she seems to fit style to subject. The book is an expression of the many varieties of love - for the land, friendship, parental, sexual, for creativity. She has such a light, sure touch, and passages - such as one long sustained section in the third part about 'connectivity' and especially the final section, looking at change and loss, are wonderful.

And she can be both humorous and break your heart, sometimes on the turn of a phrase. Fine, fine writer.
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Format: Paperback
Another good read from Rose Tremain, set partly among ex-pats and locals in a small French village, and partly in Oxford. Larry and Miriam have ended up living in the French village of Pomerac after Larry's swimming pool firm went bankrupt. When Miriam returns to Oxford to nurse her dying mother Leni, Larry decides to set up a project; to build the most beautiful swimming pool in the world in his garden. He is helped by Klaus, a German ex-pastry cook and farm labourer (and a magnificent character, a great depiction of the sensual male). Meanwhile Larry and Miriam's Polish friend Nadia is struggling with her passion for the caddish local doctor Herve, Herve is planning his escape to Florida, and the Maillelous (the husband a defeatist alcoholic, the wife a strong woman straight out of Zola and Klaus's lover) are preparing for the return of their delinquent son from prison. When he does return, he enters immediately into a Romeo-and-Juliet style romance with Agnes, Herve's sweet niece (but with a real twist to the tale). Meanwhile back in Oxford Leni is scheming to get Miriam to leave matter-of-fact Larry and have an affair with 'Doctor O', an academic-turned-bookshop owner, despite the fact that 'Doctor O' is already involved with a young woman called Bernice, plain but loving and intelligent. Tremain keeps one guessing about what will happen with the various relationships right until the end of the book: will Larry and Nadia have an affair? will Agnes and young Maillelou run off together? will Herve make it to Florida? And what will Miriam decide to do about her life? The final solution is neatly managed, even if the conclusion with the swimming pool has a hint of melodrama to it.Read more ›
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