When an affair ends badly and takes her career down with it, 26-year-old Erin leaves Auckland to spend the holiday weekend with her aunt, uncle and terminally ill mother at their suburban family home. On arrival, she learns that her mother has decided to take matters into her own hands and end her life – the following Tuesday.
Tasked with fulfilling her mother’s final wishes, Erin finds herself navigating an eccentric neighbourhood, and her complicated family of former competitive swimmers. She must summon the strength she would normally find in the water as she prepares to lose the fiery, independent woman who raised her alone.
Longlisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards 2021, The Swimmers is a sharp, quirky story of love and loss from a bold New Zealand talent.
Longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2021
‘Tackles the subject of assisted dying with wit and pathos’ The Independent
‘Lane’s unsentimental prose nails the strange enormity and mundanity of love and death with perfect piquancy’ Daily Mail
‘A powerful and intense debut’ The Sun
‘Exquisitely observed, harrowing yet surprisingly funny’ SAGA Magazine
‘Poignant and subtle with humorous elements as this disjointed family struggles to fulfil the final wishes of their loved one’ Candis Magazine
‘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
‘Tragic, warm and darkly funny, The Swimmers left me breathless with sorrow yet also strangely hopeful. Lane’s prose is compelling and her insights into what makes us human are full of wisdom’ Hannah Persaud, author of The Codes of Love
‘A beautiful, heart rending and totally absorbing narrative, a compulsive page turner from start to end. This account of a mother and daughter’s last days together, defining their love for each other, even as language has literally deserted Erin’s mother, and rendered Erin inarticulate in the face of inevitable loss, made me weep in places. And yet, Chloe Lane offers gifts of laughter, turning a mood from intensity to outright and sometimes outrageous comedy with quick and subtle shifts of tone. I wish I had written this novel; its a little masterpiece’ Fiona Kidman, author of This Mortal Boy
‘A tender portrait of indestructible family bonds and unrepentant, rule-breaking independence’ Bookanista
‘An observational tragicomedy [The Swimmers] traces the small panics, collaborative denial, and suburban antics that a family perfects in their attempts to keep their heads above dangerous emotional waters’ Foreword Reviews
‘Nuanced and beautifully drawn, complicated women in all their glory’ Alice Jones at The Debut Digest
‘An intense, moving and darkly comic story about unrepentant, difficult women’ New Zealand Herald
‘By turns touching, resonate, fiercely candid, and beautifully written’ Jill Ciment, author of The Body in Question
‘The Swimmers has the kind of intelligent and beautiful quiet that explodes a brightness deep within the reader… I can’t remember the last time I read a more generous book about care, courage and figuring it out’ Pip Adam, author of The New Animals
‘Strangely compelling . . . intensely moving’ Academy of New Zealand Literature
‘The surprising thing about The Swimmers is that it is often funny’ Stuff.co.nz
‘Lane confronts issues surrounding euthanasia with enormous sensitivity but with lashes of humour and humanity’ NZ Booklovers
‘A remarkable book’ ANZ Lit Lovers