Title: Swimming at Night
Author: Lucy Clarke
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5
After their mother’s death, sisters Kate and Mia get a flat together in London to be closer together. But the two sisters are so different, and once Mia decides to take a trip around the world, Kate and she barely speak. But when Kate receives the news that Mia is dead and that the verdict is suicide, she feels she must retrace Mia’s steps in order to find out what happened to her sister once and for all.
Swimming at Night is a complex novel dealing with loss and relationships. Now that Mia is gone, Kate is alone in the world and she doesn’t quite know how to deal with that information, especially considering she firmly believes that Mia would never commit suicide. Though Kate is usually practical and logical, she takes a page out of Mia’s book and follows her heart, allowing her emotions to guide her. Over her fiancé’s strenuous objections, Kate decides she needs to follow in Mia’s footsteps, using Mia’s journal as a guide to understand her sister’s last thoughts and decisions.
Clarke explores the difficult nature of a relationship between sisters like an expert in Swimming at Night. There is so much love between Mia and Kate, yet simultaneously so much distance. They internalize many of their issues and problems with one another, leading to their estrangement. Yet, underneath, it’s clear that they love one another fiercely and completely; it’s so difficult to capture that complicated, intangible relationship, yet Clarke does it very well in this novel.
Much of the driving force of Swimming at Night is the mystery behind Mia’s final days. Clarke paces the novel perfectly; the reader will be torn about the truth about Mia’s death. Did she commit suicide, or was there something more sinister behind her fall off a Bali cliff? Clarke deals with the suspense well, heightening it with each page, while also making either final verdict a real possibility. The ending is satisfying and brings closure for both Kate and the reader.
This is a smoothly written and descriptive novel, with a lot of detail about the different exotic locales both Mia and Kate visit. The descriptions are evocative and lush. If you’re looking for a well-rounded novel with interesting characters, settings, and a good, suspenseful mystery, then Swimming at Night should definitely be on your list.