The Swimming Pool
What are the ripple effects of a secret passion? Of a parent’s love? Of a single, agonized mistake?
Marcella di Pavarese Atkinson has always longed for love, warmth, understanding. Seven years ago, she believed she had found it, although illicitly, with Cecil McClatchey–a married father of two, and a longtime summer acquaintance from Cape Cod. But on the night their romance abruptly ended, Cecil’s wife was found dead, and Cecil died soon after, an uncharged suspect. Now Marcella lives alone, divorced, estranged from her teenaged daughter, and hobbled by her grief and guilt.
Meanwhile, Cecil’s grown son, Jed, returns to the Cape for the summer for the first time in years, with his sister and her young children. One morning, in an upstairs closet, he finds a bathing suit he recognizes as Marcella’s–a relic, unbeknownst to him, of his father’s affair. A hunch, his years-long hunger for answers, and the memory of a teenaged crush send Jed looking for her. But when Marcella and Jed, to their deep surprise, fall into a passionate affair of their own, they must hide it from their families and also begin, reluctantly, to look more closely at the past. What they find is shocking, heartbreaking, and, perhaps, the beginning of healing; but as they confront their shared pain, a crisis is brewing in the present that will force them, and us, to think about the very nature of love.
Lyrical and sensuous, The Swimming Pool is about devotion in all its forms: between spouses, lovers, siblings and, especially, between parents and children. It is a story of how our most essential connections entwine, in the most surprising of ways, and how they endure.