Book Reviews: The Swimmer | Dreams and Stones

The Swimmer by Joakim Zander

Published: 2013
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Original Language: Swedish (Title: Simmaren)
Length: 432pp.

I went on a bit of a journey this book, I wasn't into it that much when I started it, in fact I never even imagined I would review it. But I loved this book when it reached the halfway point, and started writing a review even before I had finished. Then by the time I reached the end of the book I had fallen out of love with it again.

This book is not my usual genre at all, I can't name any other thriller I have read at all. One thing I loved about this was I found it to be a very easy read, it's over 400 pages long and I managed to read it all in about a week. I believe it was originally written in Swedish and then translated, which I didn't realise before reading it at all. This book also has some Islamic extremism running through it which I wasn't expecting as it's mentioned nowhere in the blurb, so that was a surprise I rather enjoyed.

Overall I think this sort of book will never really be my thing, but there was something about the middle of the story where the action was just kicking off that really captivated me, yet as things turned more dramatic and people started dying and more secrets were being revealed I found myself getting a bit lost.

Dreams and Stones by Magdalena Tulli

Published: 1995 (Original) 2004 (in English)
Publisher: Archipelago
Original Language: Polish
Translated by: Bill Johnston
Length: 100pp.

I wrote about picking up this book in a previous post and I agree with all the rave reviews on the blurb of this book, it is wonderfully poetic. It is't a story and is simply an exploration of the growth of a city.

I have mixed feelings about this it's not a usual read of mine and it also wasn't something I was in love with whilst reading. That being said I would re-read it as I can really appreciate just how beautifully crafted the sentences were and many of the metaphors and imagery used in describing the city. I loved the comparison of a city being a tree or a machine that ran throughout the book. And I highlighted many quotes in this book, I will share two of my favourites below:

"A city too grows through power and faith."

"For without rules life is lived in intolerable uncertainty. Rules too are of little help. They do not enable one to touch either enthusiasm or sorrow, much less the causes of their appearance and disappearance."