The Swimmers

Marian Womack. Titan, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-78909-421-3
Womack (The Golden Key) draws inspiration from Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea in her meticulously detailed sophomore novel set in a vivid, believable eco-dystopia. Descriptions of this far-future Earth capture the grandeur and danger of nature, infusing the now rampant rainforests and raging oceans with threat, mystery, and hints of the supernatural. The narrator, a young pregnant woman named Pearl, knows all too well about the perils of the natural world. She resides in the wild forests of Gobarí, a place teeming with mutated creatures and ruled by a strict social hierarchy (“First, there were the elegant techies, then their servants, the beanies, and lastly those on the Upper Settlement, the ringers, lording over us all.”) that forces Pearl to hide the secret that she is mixed-caste. When a husband from the Upper Settlement is chosen for her, she’s thrust into an unfamiliar world. As the two navigate their relationship, they slowly uncover secrets of the upper class—including a revelation about the state of Earth’s climate. Womack draws in readers immediately with her dreamy depictions of the landscape and its dangers. At its heart, however, the novel is a probing examination of cultural and class differences. Readers will be captivated. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 02/01/2021
Release date: 02/23/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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