Book Club: Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Our conversation in book club this month pitted us in opposite corners to argue whether or not Ingrid is dead throughout the book! Spoiler alert – the image below is a message from the author since we couldn’t break the tie and tweeted at Claire Fuller for an answer!

We discussed for the most part the roles of writer and reader – for both Gil in his faculty position with his students/readers of his work as well as the author here for us as the book club readers. A point was made that it is about the reader’s experience – such as no two readers read the same book, in a way. Our own experiences impact the content, stories, and take-a-ways. one quote that included my own perspective was “(e)veryone needs a place to escape to, even if it’s only inside their head” (Fuller 180).  I associate this with the hustle and bustle of the work day and not having that time to re-energize – tuning internally allows for solace in some cases. Similar to how Fuller mentions that if a book is not read, did the stories/work really happen or exist? – I think about our existence in the grand scheme of things. Ingrid reflects on this when Gil is talking to interviewers as she remembers the loss of her unborn children. “‘You were keen to point out…that it was your fourth book, and I’ve always thought how I’d like to have been that brave. What did I reply when…asked how many children I had? ‘Two,’ I always answered…and hated myself for it” (Fuller 284). I wondered throughout the story a few things: 1. Would Flora stumble upon the letters herself??, 2. Do we alter our memories to make them more real and positive (such as Flora with her memory of her father – not being a womanizer), and 3. How is this considered a mystery? (because I believed Ingrid to be alive the whole time so I felt the genre was not honored!). The second question can be seen in the quote “‘It’s about believing two opposing ideas in your head at the same time: hope and grief. human beings do it all the time with religion – the flesh and the spirit – you know that. Imagination and reality'” (Fuller 199-200).

So what do you believe happened to Ingrid?

Here’s to our next book club selection, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty Happy Fall, Y’all! 🙂

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