Water Dancer follows the interconnected lives of several individuals involved in the world of competitive swimming. After losing their son to the icy waters, Sarge and Illana have ceased coaching swimmers and live in desolation and grief. When Dorey, a young woman, shows up at their door looking for coaching Sarge decides to give it one last try. Dorey wants to train for the swim that killed Sarge’s son. Can Sarge fight his demons and will Dorey accomplish the near-impossible?
The premise of this novel caught my attention but unfortunately it is a did-not-finish for me. I made it 50% through the book and I just couldn’t stay attentive. While the author is obviously talented as the words are poetically crafted, I have lovely dubbed this novel the “lesbian fiction Anna Karenina.” There wasn’t much momentum to the plot, the characters were a muddy gray instead of colorful, and most of what I read was inner ramblings and thoughts on life by several characters. This is truly my opinion alone and does not reflect the quality of the book-but it just wasn’t for me.
Nominated for the PEN/Hemingway award, Water Dancer is now available for the first time in ebook format.
Water Dancer tells the story of Dorey Thomas, a marathon swimmer training to cross the cold, brutal waters of the San Antonio Strait. It is a feat no other athlete has ever achieved. This swim will be her return to life after suffering a nervous breakdown. Her trainer, Sarge Olssen, faces an old enemy; for the San Antonio Strait took the life of his only son. Since then he and his wife, Ilana, have lived in isolation, torn from the world and from each other. Dorey’s year of training brings the passions of these three to the surface, becoming not only a test of physical endurance for Dorey but a test of the spirit for them all: a road to healing and redemption, and a rebirth of the ability to love. Swirling at the core of this mythical journey is water itself, the mysterious element of sustenance, destruction, transformation.