by Joanne Hershon

Twenty years ago, Vivian Silver abandoned her dreams of travel to marry the mysterious Jeb Wheeler, seduced both by his unnerving charm and his acres of untamed New Hampshire land. The hand-built house and swimming pond become the center of the universe for their entire family. Lila, their youngest, is consumed with love for her two older brothers, Aaron and Jack, and remains blind to the simmering tension between them. For beneath the surface of their idyllic setting lies a depth of explosive feeling that none of them can control.

Into this heated atmosphere glides Aaron’s girlfriend, Suzanne, whose presence is threatening, exciting; Lila thrills to the ominous quality of Aaron’s absolute adoration for this young woman. Before her visit is over, Suzanne will unleash the forces of rage between Aaron and Jack, compelling one brother to commit an act against the other that can never be taken back.

A decade later, living in New York, Lila still searches for Aaron, who disappeared that night, and Suzanne, whose mystique still exerts a hold on her memory. For Lila to move past her family’s tragedy, she must piece together what happened that fateful weekend–and recover the things lost down by the water–before she can at last let them go.

A stunning literary novel that captures the lingering effects of longing and loss, Swimming is by turns a gripping family story, a heartbreaking coming of age journey, and a suspenseful psychological investigation into the meaning and limits of fidelity, identity, and intimacy.



Vanity Fair

“[An] appealing debut…Turning on the tragic rivalry, Swimming unfolds with the generational intensity of an Old Testament curse… Hershon is clear-eyed and empathetic.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Compelling…[Hershon] has an ear for believable dialogue that is almost preternatural, and an ability to convey the idiosyncratic details of her characters’ lives that is truly uncanny.”
The Washington Post

“Two brothers, one girlfriend, one fateful night at a New Hampshire pond where jealousy rages out of control, and suddenly the life of eight-year-old Lila Wheeler is forever changed…Living in New York a decade later, Lila — desperate to know what really happened that night — begins her search for the terrible truth and the lost brother who harbors it. Exquisitely sexual, Hershon’s first novel heralds the arrival of a writer to watch.”


“Hershon spins a suspenseful yarn that will keep readers riveted as she shows how some people can be pulled under by the powerful current of obsession and how others can manage to stay afloat.”
Orlando Sentinel

“Joanna Hershon has a gift for choreographing a group of characters in space and in time. She is persuasive with moments of sexual passion, and she knows how to make them last for the reader long after the lovemaking is over. In her novel, the past pulses in the present, and we experience these lives with real sorrow, and real hope.”
–Frederick Busch, bestselling author of Girls and The Night Inspector

“Reading Joanna Hershon’s Swimming is like diving in over your head– intoxicating and terrifying at once. Not since Jane Hamilton’s Map of the World have I read such an affecting tale of memory and loss. I couldn’t put it down.”
–Sheri Holman, bestselling author of The Dress Lodger