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Book review and technical detail NIGHTSWIMMER ~ Joseph Olshan

Technical detail of NIGHTSWIMMER ~
author Joseph Olshan
ISBN 116896
Language English
Category Fiction & Literature
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Pages 256
Publishing Date 1st January, 1970

Book Reviews:

 Olshan (The Waterline, 1989, etc.) has written a beautiful and flawed novel about two gay men learning to trust again. One night, when Will Kaplan was living in Southern California, he and his lover went out for an ocean swim, something they had done numerous times together, but this time his lover vanished. Now, ten years later and living in Manhattan, Will still doesn't know if he drowned or ran off, scared of the ever-increasing intensity of their relationship. Since the disappearance, Will has been in a series of failed relationships, each marred by the fact that Will hasn't been able to completely commit to anyone else or let anyone else close to him. But then he meets the equally damaged Sean Paris, and together they dance around intimacy. Set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic, as well as against the shallow, hedonistic scene of Fire Island and the gay discos, their relationship unfolds in front of several jealous ex-lovers and lovers of their exes, all of whom seem intent on disrupting Will and Sean's chances for happiness. Olshan's writing is consistently excellent, his long, careful observations about obsession, loss, and rejection are often transcendent. Yet the book sometimes bogs down in the mechanics of the strained plot, especially in the mystery of Sean's former lover. Also one wonders why the book is written from the point of view of Will having a one-way conversation with Sean (e.g., ``Then you jumped off your chair...''). One keeps waiting for a payoff from this odd and obtrusive device, but it never happens, and it doesn't seem to serve any purpose other than as an experiment. Destined to be compared with James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, this is a passionate and deeply felt book. But like Baldwin, Olshan deems it necessary to surround a powerful love story with an awkward and distracting plot.

The author of Clara's Heart weaves a powerful tale of two gay men who are drawn together but haunted by their lost loves from the past who have disappeared or died, leaving them deeply hurt and afraid of intimacy. 15,000 first printing.

Reviews of NIGHTSWIMMER ~ written by Joseph Olshan. You can submit your own review to Suggestions be welcome.

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