THE HISTORY OF SWIMMING by Kim Powers
Kirkus Star

THE HISTORY OF SWIMMING

A Memoir
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Emmy Award–winning screenwriter Powers initiates a desperate manhunt for his suicidal gay twin brother, who has vanished seven years after their tumultuous college days.

Alerted by his brother’s colleague, Powers discovers that his brother—they were born five minutes apart, both gay—has mysteriously disappeared. Knowing what he knows about Tim and his emotional issues, Kim suspects his brother has gone on a drinking binge due to anxiety over some changes in his life, including a new apartment. There’s much history between them. After their mother died young (of indeterminate causes), feelings of guilt and confusion surfaced, and both brothers resigned to believing they were the product of a “cursed childhood.” Growing up together, then separating after college, Kim moved in with his lover, a costume designer in Manhattan, and moody brother Tim relocated to Kentucky for a “crashed and burned” lifestyle of heavy drinking, self-mutilation and extravagant letter-writing to his brother before finally moving to New York and getting a job with a middling film director. Upon Tim’s disappearance, Kim notifies their older brother, anxiously questions friends, scours Tim’s apartment, his day-planner and bundles of secret letters, then smartly goes back to his brother’s college research papers, since this latest disappearance coincided with the same time of year as Tim’s emotional breakdown while away at college—the year he’d described as “swimming in time and space.” Picking up clues here and there, Kim follows a “path of bloody breadcrumbs” from a Greenwich Village bar, then sniffing around painful, long-buried memories back at Austin College in Texas, and on to some difficult soul-searching of his own. Powers amplifies his quest with frantic energy and such a desperate sense of urgency that when Tim is finally discovered, their tearful reunion seems anticlimactic at first—but more heartbreak is close behind.

A powerful nod to familial bonding, written with verve and genuine affection.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 2006
ISBN: 0-78671-723-8
Page count: 304pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2006




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