Contact, light. According to Sandy Knowles those were the saddest words spoken on the moon, breathed across the 240,000 miles separating Apollo 11 from the blue opal of the earth by astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, as the LEM settled in silvery moon dust.
Nightswimming opens on the fortieth anniversary of the momentous Apollo 11 mission, with Sandy Knowles, cartographer, alone at her office desk, recording an audio memoir of those moonlanding times. At first, Sandy keeps her contact with the past light, speaking of summer in Muskoka where paradise was nothing more than a hillbilly get-together of forgotten cottages; where spinster twins in identical dresses held tender vigils for lost love; where a sad hippy preached peace between Dylan and swigs of vodka; and two friends struggled with the awkward complexities of loving the same one-of-a-kind boy.
And yet, there is something more, another meaning for contact light, which these forty years later she pretends to forget—the quick grazing of horror in the black waters of a long-ago lake.
Lyrical and engaging, Nightswimming is a sweetly nostalgic novel about what happens to us when our first explorations of love, like astronauts swimming through the dark unknowns of space, takes us someplace we never intended to go.
THOUGHTS ON NIGHTSWIMMING
“Have you ever read a book that just keeps surprising you with its truth and beauty at every turn of the page? A book that takes you to places you know like the back of your hand, and then flips your hand over to read the map of its lines?” Bernadette Rule – read the whole review
“…the work of an utterly sophisticated stylist, who plays the reader like a piano.” Robert Nielsen, Potlatch Publications – read the whole review
“…memory soaked language that serves as a guide through experiences we’ve all had; experiences that call back those summer evenings, with sunsets that belong on postcards.” Pepper Parr, Burlington Gazette
“Probably the best summer read I’ve ever come across, Nightswimming evokes the smell of summer, water, wooden dock, even if read in the midst of a Canadian autumn.” Review on Goodreads – read the whole review
“It’s a story for neo-hippies and true hippies, and for anybody who wants not-to-forget the exquisitely consuming fire of their first love.” ‘First Fiction’, Literary Press Group – read the whole review
“Beautiful, funny, lyrical and terribly moving.” Bernadette Rule, Artwaves, INDI 105.1FM listen to the podcast
“Nightswimming by Janet Turpin Myers is (an) engaging debut novel that harnesses the sights and sounds of the Muskokas, the momentous events of the Apollo 11 moon landings, and the stirring passions of first love. Beautiful yet funny, Myers explores the major turning points of the 60s and how these events affect us in our consciousness and our memories, in language that is lyrical and moving.” Stephen Near, Hamilton Arts Council 21st Literary Awards.