Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: The First Rule Of Swimming By Courtney Angela Brkic

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: May 28, 2013
ISBN-10: 0316217387
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
The First Rule of Swimming
Book Description:
A woman must leave her island home to search for her missing sister-and confront the haunted history of her family.

Magdalena does not panic when she learns that her younger sister has disappeared. A free-spirit, Jadranka has always been prone to mysterious absences. But when weeks pass with no word, Magdalena leaves the isolated Croatian island where their family has always lived and sets off to New York to find her sister. Her search begins to unspool the dark history of their family, reaching back three generations to a country torn by war.

A haunting and sure-footed debut by an award-winning writer, The First Rule of Swimming explores the legacy of betrayal and loss in a place where beauty is fused inextricably with hardship, and where individuals are forced to make wrenching choices as they are swept up in the tides of history.

My Thoughts:
Courtney Angela Brkic has created a beautiful literary gem to behold set against the background of the small Croatian island of Rosmarina; a character within itself  with its weathered buildings, olive groves, salt air and the innate ability to capture the heart and soul of its inhabitants.  Through the years, the tiny island home has seen its fair share of war and political upheaval, causing some to flee while others stand firmer and cling to their island heritage.  Spanning three generations, The First Rule Of Swimming, explores this island heritage as well as the love and devotion between siblings, and the lengths each would go to in order to  protect the other.  The story itself is beautifully told from the perspective of various family members and travels back in time with each member providing one more piece to the puzzle.  Ultimately, this is a story of love and forgiveness, and reconciling the past that is simultaneously beautiful and heart-breaking.  With this debut novel, Brkic has proven herself to be a very unique and refreshing literary voice.  The First Rule Of Swimming would be an excellent book club choice and a perfect choice for summer reading as well.  I would highly recommend this book and easily give this a FIVE!

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