Swimming Home is set in a smart villa in the French Riviera. It was clear to me that I had to build a sense of place that was as defined and memorable as Gatsby’s opulent white mansion. F Scott Fitzgerald reveals that Jay Gatsby was born James Gatz. I too have the identity of my male protagonist slide precariously between two names, Joe and Jozef – although he is often called ruder things. The villa in Swimming Home had to have the solid walls of a realist novel because I was going to make someone walk straight through them. In this sense Swimming Home merges the European modernism of its influences with some of the traditions of British realism. I wanted to create an uncanny atmosphere in which the past and the near future co-exist in the present of every sunny day.
First posted: Monday, October 15th, 2012.