Books Living Stanford

Loving Ann Packer’s “Swim Back to Me”

I was recently away traveling for almost two weeks – and happened across Ann Packer‘s latest book “Swim Back to Me“.

Swim Back to Me - Ann PackerWhat a delight! The first novella in the book – “Walk for Mankind” – takes place in the neighborhoods in and around Stanford University. It’s close to home – and feels very nearby – but I think that’d be the case even if I lived hundreds of miles away! This story about two teenagers – Sasha and Richard – is just perfect – with crystal clear dialog, great drama and surprise.

I’m now continuing into the book’s shorter stories and looking forward to the final novella “Things Said or Done” that brings Sasha back much later in life.

I was originally tipped to the book by this great review by Joan Frank last weekend in the San Francisco Chronicle. Frank wrote: “One of the bankable pleasures of Packer’s work is her terrific command of details that push us directly into domestic lives: harried ex-spouses, messy rooms, picky eaters, lost textbooks.” Indeed!

Earlier today, Dave Iverson interviewed Packer on KQED’s Forum – it’s a great interview and well worth the listen. Her discussion about the power of her writers’ group – and how they help her – is especially interesting. A Reading Group Guide is also available on Ann’s web site. The book is available in print from Kepler’s, in Kindle format, or in print.

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