Julie Otsuka’s novels are literary gems, and Swimmers joins its predecessors—The Buddha in the Attic and When the Emperor was Divine—as a work of uncommonly lyrical beauty and pathos. The loss of a public swimming pool to a series of mysterious cracks developing on the bottom disperses a tight and quirky community of lap swimmers. Among them is Alice, the main character, to whom, along with her daughter, the focus shifts in the book’s second half. Otsuka renders Alice’s journey through dementia, and her daughter’s corresponding feelings of helplessness and guilt, with understated, heartrending eloquence. Deeply affecting and universally resonant.
–John, Bookseller Emeritus, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, WA