1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
The Swimmers  By  cover art

The Swimmers

By: Julie Otsuka
Narrated by: Traci Kato-Kiriyama
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $13.99

Buy for $13.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

NATIONAL BEST SELLER • From the best-selling, award-winning author of The Buddha in the Attic and When the Emperor Was Divine comes a novel about what happens to a group of obsessed recreational swimmers when a crack appears at the bottom of their local pool. This searing, intimate story of mothers and daughters—and the sorrows of implacable loss—is the most commanding and unforgettable work yet from a modern master.

The swimmers are unknown to one another except through their private routines (slow lane, medium lane, fast lane) and the solace each takes in their morning or afternoon laps. But when a crack appears at the bottom of the pool, they are cast out into an unforgiving world without comfort or relief.

One of these swimmers is Alice, who is slowly losing her memory. For Alice, the pool was a final stand against the darkness of her encroaching dementia. Without the fellowship of other swimmers and the routine of her daily laps she is plunged into dislocation and chaos, swept into memories of her childhood and the Japanese American incarceration camp in which she spent the war. Alice's estranged daughter, reentering her mother's life too late, witnesses her stark and devastating decline. 

©2022 Julie Otsuka (P)2022 Random House Audio

What listeners say about The Swimmers

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    88
  • 4 Stars
    44
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    16
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    105
  • 4 Stars
    35
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    7
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    81
  • 4 Stars
    34
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    19

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely loved it ...

Julie Otsuka is masterful ... highly recommend this ... thanks to Terry Gross for introducing Ms Otsuka to me

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • HB
  • 05-29-22

Not for me at all.

I am a swimmer and thought it started out well. Totally related to the lap lane antics and mantras of the introverted black line lovers. But then it lost me. Got very repetitive and depressing. Would not recommend.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Spot on accuracy on dementia, Extremely repetitious Doesn’t feel like reading a book

I powered my way through the book hoping that some thing would change or come about but sadly it did not and I found myself utterly depressed. That said, The author did a most excellent job perfectly describing the experiences and at the very least will strike the fear of getting old and being put into a nursing home in to you. Perhaps on the bright side it will encourage people to go visit their loved ones in nursing homes quite a bit more often. And also to remember that those in nursing homes continually need somebody to advocate for them and their needs. Having experienced it with my grandparents I know that to be a fact.
Although the author vividly with spot on accuracy describes how we react to situations as groups and then how dementia patients feel and are treated in caretaking facilities, you find yourself over and over wishing they would just move on. There really is not a story here worthy of a book. You get the gist of what they’re saying and then it’s just overly repetitive.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • CR
  • 04-17-22

First 1 third for swimmers, 2/3 for those interested in her personal exp with her mothers dementia

Skip it. If you’re a swimmer you’ll relate just briefly then it becomes lost in her dementia experience. As a longtime swimmer caring for my mother currently in dementia decline, this was story was extremely depressing and non- informative. It’s just author’s experience with losing her mother and the grief and sadness of watching your loved one slowly disappear and die. Teri Gross’ interview with Julie was interesting and the reason why I read this book. This author’s writing may be good in her other books-I’d pass on this one.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

ugh!

The beginning started out with such promise. Then it was sideswiped by a completely different story that was dark and depressing.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Powerful Incessantly Engaging - This & Everyfamily

Remarkable storytelling, boldly tender .. every line while specific to this family was at same time a story of every daughter or son. .. .. I felt grateful to have been able to read / listen to this story...

I set the speed to .95x for a slightly lower tone.. but the narrator provided a sensitive and rich voice to this deeply brilliant book

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

repetition is overdone style

started strong. I enjoyed the first chapter a lot. The repetition as a style of writing was way overdone. I got impatient with it. The final chapters regarding aging and nursing home was painful. a lot of accuracy in it but really painful to listen to. In general. I did not enjoy this book

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • KB
  • 10-09-22

Angry

This story was the MOST disappointing. The swimmers part doesn’t even matter in the end. What a waste of a great idea and beginning and cast of characters.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Waste of time

I really didn't see the point of the whole book. I read it for a book club this month. If it wasn't for that I wouldn't have. I didn't see anything interesting about it. Not sure how any of it tied together. That's just me. We discuss it this evening so I'll see if there was something I missed. I'll put a new comment if there is.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Two books in one

I thought the author was creative in presenting two stories- one about the swimming pool and one about a woman with dementia- however it just didn't work for me. The story felt disjointed, and the 2nd person narrative kept me at arms' length. I wanted to get to know the characters but was just so aware of the unusual point of view that I couldn't settle into the story.