Swimming in the Ocean is about casting off secrets to become free from the bonds of silence and tensions that often hold us back from embracing ourselves. Catherine Jenkins’ debut novel boldly celebrates human resilience and the complexity of emotion in sleek and honest poetic prose.
While on a Caribbean holiday, the narrator summons memories of her past lovers, of dealing with depression, and other personal secrets. Ultimately, she moves into a strong reflective present, poised to dive into the cold uncertainty of the future with renewed self-assurance and self-acceptance. With the ocean and marine life serving as subtle metaphors, each segment of the novel folds over the next, slowly building into a complex emotional whole.
The spare, direct style of Swimming in the Ocean will be likened to that of writers such as Elizabeth Smart and Jeanette Winterson. It is a daring novel that vividly captures the tensions between sexual manipulation, romantic fantasy, abuse and intimacy, and the rewarding drama of self-discovery.
What the critics said:
“This is a short, well-crafted book that dives into life beneath the sea and rises to catch the heady air of human reality as smoothly as a dolphin. It draws in the reader with the inexorable force of a well-placed net…Swimming in the Ocean is the best myth associated with sexual desire to come from beneath the waves since Venus arose from the deep.”
“This is a swift and elegant novel… one of the most readable tales of a woman’s personal crises to come along in some time, and Jenkins has made a distinguished foray into the writing of fiction.”
“Jenkins demonstrates a keen descriptive eye.”
The Globe and Mail
“The emotional baldness and immediacy of Jenkins’ prose is moving… there is a voyeuristic page-turning quality.”
Quill & Quire
What the readers said:
A total pleasure and a total work of art at the same time.
I loved Swimming in the Ocean!
It’s really intense. I’m still absorbing it.
I couldn’t put it down.
You write what I paint because I can’t find the words.