SWIMMING NAKED: A Novel
Viking, March 15th, 2004
“Fresh, edgy … brutally moving first novel. Sims works toward a stunningly beautiful climax while bringing painful pictures into excruciating focus.” - Chicago Tribune
SWIMMING NAKED In a voice as sharp as it is funny and fresh, Lucy unfolds the story of her childhood, at the height of which sits a freak accident that occurred one fateful summer at the family lake house, an event that transforms the family and sets a mother and her daughters on a very different course. With this chain of memories Lucy hits all the nerves that have brought her a lifetime of ambivalence about her mother and exasperation with the outlandish dramatics of her sister, and to a crossroads as a thirty-year-old woman strung out on bitterness and self-doubt. It is Lucy’s one treasured memory — a midnight swim with her mother–that reminds her there is grace in her graceless world, a fact that helps her to forgive her mother, and ultimately, let her go.
Uplifting but unsentimental, compelling and remarkably moving, Swimming Naked is an unforgettable debut that will resonate with daughters, mothers, and anyone who has ever searched their past in the hopes of finding a future.
This “elegant debut” is “unforgettable and will melt the hardest of hearts. ” - Publisher’s Weekly
“Sims' writing borders on sublime as it delivers an unsentimental, deeply moving testament to the power of love and forgiveness.” - Cleveland Plain Dealer
"There are a couple of astonishing things about Stacy Sim's Swimming Naked. First, it's a debut novel of a writer already entering middle age. Sims is 40. Second, she lives in Cincinnati, where she has had a varied career in graphic design and advertising. She now owns a Pilates studio there -- a life far from the New York-centric literary world. Maybe it's her Midwestern background or her unwriterly life experiences. Or maybe it's just wisdom that comes with age. But Sims has written a refreshingly unself-conscious book that manages to be vivid and rich with truth." - Akron Beacon Journal
Swimming Naked by Cincinnati author Stacy Sims is a gem. It's funny, intense, sad, thought-provoking. I was hooked on the first page. -The Cincinnati Enquirer
“In her astonishing debut novel, Swimming Naked, Stacy Sims explores the conflicted relationship between an acerbic, self-destructive young woman and her dying mother. Unfolding in alternating chapters that record Lucy's adolescent memories and her present situation, Swimming Naked strikes a unique balance between two very different narrative voices, juxtaposing levity and gravitas in a passionate, intergenerational family tale. Bravely unsentimental, the novel is filled with rich, atmospheric description, strong conviction, and visceral clarity.” - Barnes and Noble
"In SWIMMING NAKED, the intractable bond between mothers and daughters-the ambivalent, impossible love that exists no matter what-is laid bare in a story at once laugh-aloud funny and so painful that it is impossible to turn away. Stacy Sims has a voice so fresh it seems to leap and beckon from the page. Read this book slowly. You’ll be sad to see it end." - Dani Shapiro, author of Family Matters and Slow Motion
"In SWIMMING NAKED, Stacy Sims will casually, with deep literacy and sly humor, force you to laugh just before she breaks your heart." - Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean
"In SWIMMING NAKED, edgy, driven, keen-eyed Lucy Greene scrambles for some sort of philosophical retort to death, as she returns to her estranged mother during the latter's final days. Lucy doesn't aspire to heroism, but she reaches it nonetheless. This is a novel that is both rough and tender, smart-ass funny and deeply moving." - Kristin Ohlson, author of Stalking the Divine
Swimming Naked was selected by Border's Books for their national "Original Voices" program.