Longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2021

‘Darkly funny, desperately sad, brilliantly written. I absolutely loved it’ Claire Fuller, author of Unsettled Ground

This book is spectacular. A perfect blend of devastating humour and sadness’ Emily Austin, author of Everyone in This Room Will Someday be Dead

A sharp, quirky story of love and loss from a bold New Zealand talent.

When an affair ends badly and her career in the arts implodes, 26-year-old Erin returns to lie low at the family farm with her chronically ill mother, and her aunt-turned-carer. She learns shortly before her arrival that her mother has decided to take matters into her own hands and end her life – the following Tuesday.

Erin finds herself navigating an eccentric neighbourhood and her complicated family, as she prepares for the loss of a fiery, independent woman.

A former competitive swimmer like her mother and aunt, Erin must find the strength to honour her mother’s final wishes and to reconcile their difficult relationship in the days they have left.



Publisher Website



Wow! This was one of those books that is a heavy read considering the topic BUT is lifted by the wonderful use of humour that many of us use in reality when dealing with an event that rocks our foundations and try to find a way of coping with it all.
Erin finds herself jobless and loveless after an office romance goes sour. So she goes to spend the holiday weekend with family – her aunt and uncle, and her terminally ill mother. The news she hears when she arrives shocks her and we are witnesses to the turmoil and brutal reality of that decision. How do you come to terms with the fact that your mother wants to take their own life?

It approaches the subject of assisted dying in a very clever and perceptive way. It doesn’t sugar coat it, but you see it in real terms and watching the different women involved coming to terms with the idea was brilliantly portrayed and played out. And that’s where the humour comes in to its’ own! Just because there’s a heavy situation doesn’t mean that life doesn’t throw up funny thoughts or circumstances and it takes the edge off perfectly. Their pasts are all explored and the importance of swimming is really at the core of it all -that sense of freedom and escapism that they felt when in the water is guiding them through the troubled times they find themselves facing now. The characters are all very strong females and I loved that angle which shaped their way of dealing with what life had thrown their way.

This was a stunning read and is a book that makes you think. A poignant story.


My thanks to the team at Gallic Press for my early copy in return for a fair and honest review.


2 thoughts on “#BookReview THE SWIMMERS by CHLOE LANE

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