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The Union of Synchronised Swimmers

 13.00

by Cristina Sandu

‘Sandu’s novel strikes home. This is a timely and lyrical musing on the troubles waiting across the border: racism and xenophobia, the gendered nature of independent life, and the unexpected loneliness of no longer speaking in one’s mother tongue.’

Miriam Balanescu, The Irish Times

The Union of Synchronised Swimmers

It’s summer behind the Iron Curtain, and six girls are about to swim their way to the Olympics – and a new life.

In an unnamed Soviet state, six girls meet each day to swim. At first, they play, splashing each other and floating languidly on the water’s surface. But soon the game becomes something more.

They hone their bodies relentlessly. Their skin shades into bruises. They barter cigarettes stolen from the factory where they work for swimsuits to stretch over their sunburnt skin. They tear their legs into splits, flick them back and forth, like herons. Ultimately, they force themselves to stop breathing.

When they find themselves representing their country as synchronised swimmers in the Olympics, they seize the chance they have been waiting for to escape and begin new lives.

Scattered around the globe, six women live in freedom. But will they ever be able to forget what they left behind?

About the Author

Cristina Sandu was born in 1989 in Helsinki to a Finnish-Romanian family who loved books. She studied literature at the University of Helsinki and the University of Edinburgh, and speaks six languages. She currently lives in the UK and works as a full-time writer.

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Weight 0.3 kg
Dimensions 12.8 × 2.6 × 19.7 cm