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Somehow, someway, Julie Otsuka makes the quotidian aspects of life seem so beautiful yet tragic. This unique and immersive narration style that Otsuka uses in The Swimmers brings the reader front and center, as if they are watching the story unfold around them. The narrator chronicles the life of Alice, a Japanese-American woman who falls victim to a rare variation of dementia. In this story, you will have the opportunity to learn about aging and loss and love, all at once.


"She remembers that her own mother died four years ago, while watching the birds out the window, and she misses her more and more every day...She remembers the number assigned to her family by the government right after the start of the war. 13611...She remembers the sound of the wind hissing through the sagebrush. She remembers the scorpions and red ants. She remembers the taste of dust" (Otsuka 79).

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

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