One by one all the relationships are examined and found wanting and there is a sense of dysfunction spreading thorough the sleepy little village of Pomerac. It is apparent that each character is unfulfilled in some way and is looking for more from life than their current relationship affords. The village is a seething vortex of affections and jealousies, and longings and unrequited loves, and carnal desires that are, only with great difficulty, suppressed.
Sep 05, Diana rated it really liked it. This is the best novel I've read in a long time. Interesting details of small-town, pastoral life with complications of love and the intrusions of urban life and distance. I can't wait to pick up another novel by this prolific writer, whose excellent story "My Wife is a White Russian" I read in a recent story collectionl.
Jan 28, Alison Hampton rated it it was ok. This was slightly disappointing. Even after finishing it I was not quite Sir what it was supposed to be about, France, swimming pools, love, art? There was a hint of a good story but it never quite made it. Jan 28, Helen rated it liked it.
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- One Small Secret (Mills & Boon Vintage Desire)?
I particularly loved the French characters in this book. I like to believe they exist. Dec 21, Sue rated it really liked it. As always, Rose Tremain's characters have a way of sneaking up on you as you read. The gentle meandering through intersecting lives overshadows the slow moving story because, really, it's ofetn not the story that makes Tremain's writing addictive, but the depth and complexity of her characters. However, the book written in did have a "dated" feel to it and at times the darker hopelessness of ordinary lives made the book far too melancholy. The ending, too, was a bit unsatisfactory.
Sep 16, Karen rated it liked it. Sometimes I feel compelled to point out that I rate books strictly on my own enjoyment of them. Objectively this should get 4 or 5 stars but based on my taste, and maybe even external circumstances, I give it three. This was a bit of a slog. The characters were complex and multi-faceted so I never had a person I was rooting for or identified with.
The writing was very good and the story believable. Nov 16, Gina Oliver rated it really liked it. Rose Tremain is one of my favorite authors, so whenever I find a book of hers I've never read I feel like Fortune has smiled on me. I always find her writing to be literary and wonderfully developed, and The Swimming Pool Season was no exception.
The Swimming Pool Season
One of my favorite things about her writing is her character development, and this book's characters are sure to make you look forward to your next encounter with each one of them. Each one's distinctive humanity is so engaging that you easily forgive Rose Tremain is one of my favorite authors, so whenever I find a book of hers I've never read I feel like Fortune has smiled on me. Each one's distinctive humanity is so engaging that you easily forgive them their numerous flaws most of them, anyway. The settings in the book were charming, the story intriguing, and the multinational context added a depth that helped propel the story along.
One of Tremain's great gifts as a writer is her ability to quietly assign significance to ordinary things. In this book, the colors of objects doors, handkerchiefs, candles, skin, etc. Probably her most notable effort at this was in The Colour, in my opinion her best work ever. Like every one of her books, The Swimming Pool Season is completely different than anything else Tremain has written. Its plot is complex, but easy to follow. The story is of love, betrayal, and the redemption of each character, each in his or her own way.
The Swimming Pool Season is set in England and in France, and the title refers to one character's wish to redeem himself and his past failures by starting a swimming pool business in rural France. It sounds ridiculous, but by the end you completely understand the importance and controversy the idea generates for each of the characters. Initially, it sounded to me like a weak idea for a book, but but ultimately it was another masterful accomplishment by this great author. Apr 11, Joe Stamber rated it liked it Shelves: The Swimming Pool Season is one of Tremain's early novels but despite that it definitely has the style that I have come to recognise after reading several other of her books.
It's difficult to imagine anyone who has a love of reading the written word not being entranced by Tremain's eloquent prose. What carries The Swimming Pool Season is the characters, which is a good job as there isn't much of a plot.
However, there is a story, that of a diverse group of people living in rural France, all wit The Swimming Pool Season is one of Tremain's early novels but despite that it definitely has the style that I have come to recognise after reading several other of her books. However, there is a story, that of a diverse group of people living in rural France, all with their own unique identity.
Tremain is brilliant at characters, and with her exquisite writing style her books are always worth ready regardless of the plot if, indeed there is one. Particularly worthy of mention is Nadia, whose unintentionally hilarious rendition of the English language provides many of the lighter moments in a novel that is often tinged with sadness.
Not Rose Tremain's best, but as always a pleasure. Nov 04, Jayne Charles rated it it was ok. So many characters, many of them romantically involved with more than one other character, and yet only an average length book. Well written but ultimately a bit dull. Nov 04, Felicity Price rated it liked it. As a reader, I found the extremely intense prose, the immense detail and the large cast of characters frustrating.
It nearly put me off reading it. But as a writer, I loved the prose - some of Tremain's descriptions of people and settings set an example to any of us who aspire to improve our game. There are so many points of view, sometimes in adjoining paragraphs with no line breaks; there are so many unhappy people interacting with each other often for no apparent reasons; but there are also m As a reader, I found the extremely intense prose, the immense detail and the large cast of characters frustrating.
There are so many points of view, sometimes in adjoining paragraphs with no line breaks; there are so many unhappy people interacting with each other often for no apparent reasons; but there are also many pages of superbly phrased writing and astute character descriptions that I should aspire to emulate.
Sep 26, Clare rated it liked it. Loved The Road Home so approached this with eager anticipation. Initially quite compelled, had some difficulty keeping track of the characters, but found it worth persevering through the French countryside and splendours of Oxford. Overall I found this satisfying but less rewarding than The Road Home, still my favourite of her books. Jan 04, Carolyn Mck rated it liked it. While not as good as some of her later novels, this Tremain was guaranteed to please simply through the wonderful language, the varied characters and the French setting.
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There is love and tragedy in the novel as Larry whose swimming pool business has failed in England sets out to build a very special swimming pool in his new French home. Nov 29, Jgknobler rated it really liked it. An Englishman with a failed swimming pool business moves with his wife to rural France. When his wife returns to England to care for her ailing mother, he becomes more entwined with the people in the little village, and decides to build a swimming pool. A lovely though perhaps cliched depiction of French rural life.
Feb 16, Kirsty Darbyshire rated it liked it Shelves: An interesting cast of characters in a selection of interesting situations I feel as if it either needed more focus or more pages. Will try again with Rose Tremain though! Aug 04, Carol rated it liked it. The story was enjoyable but the writing didn't capture my attention. In books such as Trespass and The Colour I felt a strong sense of place and time, but not so here. Jan 16, Jennifer rated it liked it Shelves: This novel is set in an English village.
Filled with the most amazing, eccentric charaters. Over different centuries and cultures, the play of puppets presenting a story or legend has conveyed not only character but fate as well. They are objects, crude or ravishing in themselves, that move out beyond their own manufactured and changeless nature to create more than the sum of their made parts: Most of the characters in "The Swimming Pool Season" are curious, original and finely made.
They are almost all, like puppets, fixed in their attributes.
The drama in this mysterious and ultimately tender comedy is achieved not by the characters' development but by their acting and living out the consequences of their own and each other's actions. And the combination of these actions goes beyond the actions themselves to suggest an unspoken but affecting sense of life's orders and patterns.
The novel's central figures are Larry and Miriam Kendal, a middle-aged English couple who have retired to a house in France's Dordogne region after the failure of his outdoor swimming pool business--a quixotic venture in view of the British climate. She paints; he putters and frets. The title refers to more than Larry's impractical infatuation with swimming pools. He thinks of them, borrowing a friend's words, as "loops of brightness" transforming a dull and scrubby outdoors.
The "season" is that time in middle age when there may be a last effort to recapture some lost youthful magic. For Miriam, it is her return to Oxford to be with her dying mother, a woman whose beauty, wit and voracity for life created a glamorous aura that Miriam was never able to penetrate. As for Larry; left behind in the village of Pomerac, he begins work on a swimming pool that will, he fantasizes, captivate his French neighbors and recoup his fortunes. It will be a glorious pool, modeled on the black-and- white mosaic of a church; it will be, he reflects, his cathedral.
Profile: Rose Tremain | Books | The Guardian
Through the book, we shift back and forth from Miriam's stay in Oxford to Larry's life in Pomerac. Each of them impinges on a whole circle of other lives, and Tremain manages to convey quite brilliantly the Englishness of one set of people and passions, and the Frenchness of the other. The stuffy house in Oxford is full of preserved memories and easily bruised feelings. There is an aging bookseller who briefly falls in love with Miriam, forsaking his pale assistant and mistress.
There is a homosexual lodger who regards Miriam's mother as his own. There is Miriam's son, a counter-culture child who has grown up to manufacture a highly profitable line of scatological furniture and fixtures. And there is Leni, the mother, who makes a sprightly dying of it with her queenly tastes and erotic recollections. The Oxford figures, with all their varied and well-drawn eccentricities, are muted in comparison with Larry's neighbors in Pomerac. The swimming pool project is only one of many threads in Tremain's remarkable tapestry. There is the farm family next door, whose central figure is Gervaise, a battler and nurturer.