Matt Bondurant, the author of the 2005 international bestseller, The Third Translation, come with his third novel – The Night Swimmer, a spellbinding piece of literature that revolves around the story of an couple in Vermont who win a contest held by some beer company and come to possess ownership of a pub on an isolated Irish coast, where they happily move-in seeking a fresh new start, only to experience an expansion of gap between their relationship as time brings intension, an unusual yet familiarly gloomy stir driven by external/environmental mis-parameters.
Post 9/11.. Vermont.. a beer contest.. winners- Fred and Elly.. prize – Nightjar, a pub situated at a lonely coast near Cork.. a common perspective.. a dream come true.. and the couple set out to pursue the supposed happy life. Fred gets in touch with contractors and gets the business up and running, while Elly, whose genetic skin condition facilitates her body to float over water for an increasingly longer period, sets out to quench her thirst for long-distance open-air swimming. It all seems happy and happening until Elly starts taking the ferry to Cape Clear, the island situated nearby, the place from where the concept of “strangers” must have originated it seems.
There, she stays at a bed and breakfast hotel and befriends a few locals, but with the region not so fond of outsiders, most of them ignore her presence, and some keep a note of her swimming schedules. In the meanwhile Fred finds himself immersed in writing a novel, while Elly is busy chasing the windy waters. Then, an environment characterized by intension starts setting out its ripples, and the happily married couples leading a simple life witness the slow depletion of love in the air. Progression brings together an enigmatic armless goat farmer who walks his goats by the fences at nights, a fascinating Fastnet Lighthouse, the wealthy and powerful Corrigans who possess a major hand in the region’s commerce, a mysterious tragic legend that slowly starts to unravel, suspicious states of delirium involving a mysterious death, confusion, and disintegration of the bond that had once known for sparking the flame between Elly, the narrator of the story, and her husband.
The Night Swimmer has been written with intensity, the experience shared from the perspective of the redhead Elly. The narration is heavily engrossing, and a vulnerable state of mind at the time of reading the book is sure to arouse deep cogitation. Matt’s style of writing bears the essence of poetry, which sets out to seek more attention from those drowned within the novel. Changes within the environment can act as a threat to the objects of life it shelters. Weak bonds of love seem to be strong at nascent, but the fragility of the connection is put to test when time comes into picture. There are however, few seeming-black-holes that you may encounter, if you come expecting to grasp every detail of the story without putting in conscious efforts. In short, the book is a captivating read, a true expression of art that is sure to trigger some pondering over one’s own ability to withstand the ripples an unsuspected motion.