Fig Tree acquires 'spellbinding' new novel from Otsuka

Fig Tree acquires 'spellbinding' new novel from Otsuka

Fig Tree has acquired a "spellbinding" new novel from Julie Otsuka.

Helen Garnons-Williams, publishing director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to The Swimmers from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein on behalf of Nicole Aragi at Aragi Inc. Jordan Pavlin at Knopf acquired North American rights from Aragi. It will publish in hardback in February 2022. 

The publisher described The Swimmers as "a spellbinding, lyrical novel about mothers and daughters, grief and memory, love and implacable loss".

Its synopsis says: "Alice is one of a group of obsessed recreational swimmers for whom their local swimming pool has become the centre of their lives — a place of unexpected kinship, freedom, and ritual (slow lane, medium lane, fast lane…). Until one day a crack appears beneath its surface.

"As cracks also begin to appear in Alice's memory, she is plunged into dislocation and chaos, swept into memories of her childhood, of the Japanese American incarceration camp in which she spent the war, and of the child she lost. While Alice clings to the tethers of her past in a home she feels certain is not her home, her estranged daughter, faced with the dilemma of how best to care for her, must navigate the fractured landscape of their relationship."

Garnons-Williams said: "We are thrilled to be publishing Julie Otsuka’s long-awaited, astonishing third novel, which will delight her numerous admirers and captivate many new ones. Written in incantatory, mesmerising prose, The Swimmers ingeniously explores the countless ways we lose and find ourselves and the reversals of care that so many children and parents eventually face. And it does it in a way that is beautiful, heartbreaking, often very funny – and entirely unforgettable."

Otsuka added: "I can’t imagine a better home for my third novel than with Helen Garnons-Williams at Fig Tree. The Swimmers was inspired by the many years I spent happily swimming in my lane at the pool, the ‘ladies’ in the locker room at the gym, and my mother’s heartbreaking decline into dementia. It’s by far the most personal book I’ve ever written and I’m thrilled it will be reaching a UK audience."