Kate Wilks is a swimmer, a teacher and a writer, but she has never been a mother. She believes she has a good and satisfying life until a chance encounter with her ex-husband and his daughter. Suddenly submerged by a past overflowing with grief, secrets and betrayals, Kate is forced to reassess her life. Swimming is a lyrical story of one woman’s journey. A novel about loss and survival, friendship and love, creativity and fulfilment, it will resonate with anyone whose life hasn’t turned out as planned. Set in the western suburbs of Melbourne and on the surf beaches of the Great Ocean Road, Swimming is a novel that negotiates primarily in close-ups, taking the reader into the world of the protagonist, Kate Wilks. This is a poignant, emotional and psychological journey of a woman confronting several unplanned changes in mid life - childlessness, sexual betrayal and the desire for creative fulfilment. Kate is in her early sixties when the novel opens. Kate’s days are divided between swimming, writing, and spending time with her lover George (a biker and journalist, almost fifteen years her junior) and with her friends, especially her best friend, Lynne, who has early onset Alzheimers. A chance encounter with her ex-husband Tom, at the opening of an exhibition, propels Kate back into a past cloaked in grief, in secrets and betrayals. From this point, the narrative shifts between Kate’s present life, and her past life partly documented in an unfinished manuscript titled, ‘Writing Sarah’. Written some twenty years ago, ‘Writing Sarah’, begins with Kate’s struggles to have a child. It is an exploration of her emotional state during those years, of her relationship with Tom, of Tom’s inability to deal with her grief, of his affair with Kate’s friend Mai, and the breakdown of their marriage. Thirty years later a friendship develops between Mai's daughter Leesa and Kate, and so Kate is forced to confront and reassess her past; to think about what it means to be a woman that has never had a child; she is forced to confront the destructive aspects of her own nature. Swimming is compelling new novel about female friendship, artistic creativity, and unexpected childlessness.
Enza gives an overview of the book:
I am the author of many published short pieces of fiction and non-fiction, as well as the recipient of several grants and awards, including a Varuna Fellowship. My novel, Swimming (Vanark Press) was shortlisted for the ABC Fiction Award 2008. My previous books...