B O D Y’s Saturday European Fiction this week was an excerpt from the novel The Swimmers by Joaquín Pérez Azaústre, published today August 27, 2013. The title, and not only the title, is evocative of another very well-known short story and film, “The Swimmer”, written by John Cheever and published in 1964 and brought to the screen by Frank Perry (and Sydney Pollack among others) with a spectacular performance by Burt Lancaster in 1968.
Below is a scene from the film:
There are some very interesting parallels between Azaústre’s novel and Cheever’s and Perry’s works, though the Spanish writer never strains to make references (at least not that I noticed) and followed his own logic in making a connection between swimming and the haunting reality taking place above water.
In fact, the original Spanish edition of the novel even uses a photo from the film on its cover.
Listen to John Cheever read “The Swimmer”:
And, for something completely different, here is the story narrated by a puppet with a glass of wine and acted out by Barbie and Ken dolls (yeah, I know, I wish I had thought of that too):