Swimmer in the Secret Sea (Fiction)

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A snowy landscape... a baby struggling to be born... a profoundly moving story.

Awarded the National Magazine Award for Fiction "… for William Kotzwinkle‘s mastery of narrative, and ability to handle potent and painful material delicately and yet with telling effect."

"National Book Critics Circle Award nominee"

Prix Litteraire des Bouquinistes des Quais de Paris


"This is a little book with the largest of themes: birth and death... To tell precisely what happens would be like paraphrasing a poem. Suffice it to say that Kotzwinkle projects powerful feelings of love and loss... as a result, we value life a little more." - New York Times Book Review

"I could not leave this story... reveals a depth of emotion and an immensity of feeling seldom seen in American writers today." - San Francisco Review of Books

"A deeply moving book. The textures of its delicately conveyed anguish, love, reverence, acceptance, simplicity make its grief all the more stunning." - Publishers Weekly

"A sparse and beautifully written book." - American Libraries

"Want a lump in the throat? … very moving... a little book that will stay with you." - Saturday Review

"A beautiful piece of work… The economy of the writing and the matter-of-fact acceptance make it immensely moving." - Daily Telegraph

"... he couldn't interest me in the novels of John Hawkes, Barry Hannah or William Gaddis, and he failed with my heroines, Margaret Drabble, Fay Weldon and Jennifer Johnston. I thought his lot were too dry, he thought mine were wet, though he was prepared to give Elizabeth Bowen the benefit of the doubt. During that time, we managed to agree on only one short novel, which he had in a bound proof, William Kotzwinkle's Swimmer in the Secret Sea. He thought it was beautifully formed, I thought it was wise and sad." - Ian McEwan, from his novel Sweet Tooth