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When to Go into the Water: A Novel Paperback – June 1, 2009
"The Swans of Fifth Avenue" by Melanie Benjamin
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife comes an enthralling new novel about Truman Capote's scandalous, headline-making, and heart-wrenching friendship with Babe Paley and New York's society "swans" of the 1950s. Learn more | See related books
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'Poised' is perhaps too mild a word to describe the way this tale is delivered. Masterful is a little closer, as does simply 'solid.' Sutin seems to know his protagonist as if he'd lived the life himself, a concept he plays with in the title, as Hector, travelling from one sour adventure to the next, sustains his spirits by spending long nights working on a book called "When to Go Into the Water."
There is a certain firmness necessary to deliver any sort of fictitious narrative. The ante is upped when the reader is told things that simply do not happen in our world, at least in any obviously acknowledged way. Although there is little, if any out and out Magical Realism here, there is a logic to the unfolding of the events in Hector's life that follows a kind of cosmic illogic, an unfolding of fate but as if it were reeled off by a child and not God himself. The sure-footed narrative helps us believe in the likely and the unlikely things that cross Hector's path.
This is a short book, around 120 pages. A lot happens in this compact narrative, however. Chapters that were 2 pages long contained the events, the realizations made by the characters, the impacts on their lives of similar passages in longer novels. What is not lingered on here is the minute description of each episode.Read more ›