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Chantal Thomas grew up in a seaside town on the Atlantic coast of France, inheriting from her mother an obsession with the sea, and for swimming. In this tender and eloquent memoir she seeks to understand her quixotic, often inscrutable mother - a woman who was luminous in the water and once dived into the moat of the Palace of Versailles, but became fettered by marriage and domestic life.
Thomas combs the beaches of her childhood for memories, recalling the sensory pleasures of the sands, the first sharp touch of cold water, and discovering the multitude of ways in which she is still her mother's daughter.
• "Wonderful . . . her descriptions are a kind of bottled perfection, of long days spent in the sea and sand"--Financial Times
• 'In spare, elegant prose Thomas explores the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.' -- Joanna Pocock, Times Literary Supplement
• "A story of inheritance, of the fluidity of a mother-daughter relationship dissolved in a calm sea, a kind of reverse amniotic fluid, in which to dive and luxuriate deliciously"--Marie Claire
• "This is an infinitely gentle, oblique look at a whole century, passed through as a swimmer crosses the water, from one buoy to another... Haunting and elegiac"--Livres Hebdo
• "Sublime... Delightful"--L'Express