An Indie Next Pick for August!
"The kind of book you could read in one sitting, one breath, or spread out over weeks of indulgent moments." —Maggie Henrikson, Carmichael's Bookstore
"For a quick, inspiring read, pick up a copy of The Union of Synchronized Swimmers... Whether you consume this small translated tome in a single gulp or choose to savor it, sip by sip, you’ll be exposed to some new ideas, ideals and even hope." —Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore
"Vivid... Sandu’s direct prose has impact."—Publishers Weekly
It’s summer behind the Iron Curtain, and six girls are about to swim their way to the Olympics—and a new life.
In an unnamed Soviet state, six girls meet at the river each day to swim. When they find themselves representing their country as synchronized swimmers in the Olympics, they seize the chance they have been waiting for to escape and begin new lives away from the oppressive regime.
Scattered around the globe, six women live their lives in freedom. But will they ever be able to forget what they left behind?
A mesmerizing, multi-layered novella about freedom, women’s choices, and the ties that bind us to our pasts.
“With structural, determined prose, Cristina Sandu embodies the Eastern bloc cryptology of storytelling where strings of non-verbal cues and mistranslations become ways of speaking. Sandu evokes that eerie Soviet sense of hope, brimming with futility and grace.”
Yelena Moskovich, author of The Natashas
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“Skilfully crafted and defined, airy, and multi-layered. Highly praised for the themes of detachment as well as the description of externality and differentness. A work greater than its size gives a chance to pause, feel, and reflect on what one has read.”
Toisinkoinen Literary Prize Jury
“Cristina Sandu's narration is magical… Her poetic and airy prose weaves together the strongly metaphorical and the realistic… In these moving stories about the fates of Eastern European women, her narrative is universal and titanic.”
“Sandu’s precise narration demonstrates the refined and sparing characteristics of Finnish modernism… These ingeniously disconnected stories entice the reader… Delicate and subtle.”
“The Union of Synchronized Swimmers is the exploration of the old notion, “the grass is always greener on the other side”. Each of the women finds herself in a very different situation to the one they expected, and yet for all their hopes and dreams, what they find is not always better than what they left. But this is not a dark or depressing book, instead Sandu writes each character with a degree of positivity and optimism whatever their circumstance, leaving us with the feeling that it is ok to wonder what else might be out there for us if we take the chance to seek it.”
Hannah, The Raven Book Store
“Six girls who live behind The Iron Curtain change their leisurely summer swimming routine into something more intense and purposeful. Peeks into their lives as adults are bound together by atmospheric vignettes of their childhood in the river and journey into the world of synchronized swimming. The kind of book you could read in one sitting, one breath, or spread out over weeks of indulgent moments.”
Maggie Henrickson, Carmichael's Bookstore
“Vivid … Sandu’s direct prose has impact.”