The premise suggests Under the Tuscan Sun: two Americans win a pub in Ireland and set about restoring the building and getting to know the locals. But there’s no sun here, either in the sky or in the hearts of the characters. Fred dives into his new life as a pub keeper while his wife, Elly, dives into the sea, obsessed with the otherworldly experience of open-water swimming. Soon Elly, when she’s not in the water, becomes enmeshed in the clannish rivalries on a nearby island, and Fred, his pub shunned by the locals, is drinking more Guinness than he’s serving. Bondurant, author of The Wettest County in the World (2008), uses the forbidding landscape of the southern Irish coast, blasted by wind and rain and always in the grip of the ocean, “a kingdom of darkness and cold,” to generate remarkable tension, both psychological and somehow atmospheric, as Fred, Elly, and the warring locals swerve ever closer to the inevitable conflagration. It’s a long journey from the Tuscan sun to Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, but Bondurant makes it feel as natural as the incoming tide. --Bill Ott
"The poignant unraveling of a marriage, the fierce beauty of the natural world, the mysterious power of Irish lore, and the gripping story of strangers in a strange land rife with intrigue and violence--The Night Swimmer is a novel of myriad enchantments by a writer of extraordinary talent."
- IndieBound"Bondurant's equally strong at constructing an emotional landscape: the fraught, error-prone conversations between spouses afraid of losing their marriage, Elly's clear-eyed descriptions of their shared interest in both the writers and the cocktails of the American midcentury."
- Boston Globe
"Bondurant's mesmerizing third novel, set on the isolated coast of southern Ireland, uses a distinctive narrator, Elly Bulkington, to explore Cheever's fatalistic notion, and in doing so Bondurant has constructed a melancholy ode to Ireland itself."
- Star Tribune"Bondurant uses exquisitely sensual language to describe the couple's erotic connection, Elly's experience of swimming (Bondurant is a competitive open-water swimmer himself), the earthy rural life and wild Irish landscape that catches them up as fate shifts from benign to violent in a series of explosive scenes.""Matt Bondurant does not lay out or wrap up his mysteries neatly, but that doesn't entirely matter: what stands out in The Night Swimmer is its atmosphere and its narrating voice....Bondurant infuses his third novel with a pervasive sense of foreboding and a final act that hits with the impact of an Irish gale."
“The Night Swimmer,” it seems to me, is best approached — andappreciated — as a tone poem, evocative and often lyrical in its descriptionsof Ireland’s landscape, lore, cadences and character.” —San Francisco Chronicle
"Mr.Bondurant skillfully conjuresthe elemental world his characters inhabit." -New York Times
“Bondurant has written another nervy, robust and suspenseful novel.” --Kirkus
“The Night Swimmer
is intriguing, seductive, treacherous, and frightening. His writing is so beautiful, poignant, and poetic, that the book is worth a second read.” —Lynne Cox, author of Swimming to Antarctica
“Before you plunge into The Night Swimmer
, be forewarned: there will be ghosts (and goats), and Gaelic spells cast by black waves of invisible power. But mostly you will be dazzled by the sheer force of Matt Bondurant’s storytelling. In prose as rugged as Ireland’s coastline and just as enchanting, Bondurant has offered up a breathtaking story of what happens when dreams come true and hearts are unbridled.” —Betsy Carter, author of Swim to Me
and The Puzzle King
"Bondurant uses the forbidding landscape of thesouthern Irish coast, blasted by wind and rain and always in the grip ofthe ocean, 'a kingdom of darkness and cold,' to generate remarkable tension,both psychological and somehow atmospheric..." -Booklist
“Lush, brutal, and otherworldly, The Night Swimmer
is completely transporting. This darkly beautiful love story
—set in Bondurant's distinctively captivating and merciless coastal Ireland—will pull you under.” —Julianna Baggott, author of Girl Talk
"But when Bondurant explores what it is like to push yourself to the brink, whether with physical activity, drugs and alcohol, or lust, he captures an intensity of experience the reader won’t soon forget."