Book Club Pick: Ann Turner’s The Lost Swimmer

Dive into the beautiful – but possibly treacherous – waters on Italy’s Amalfi Coast this this month with Ann Turner’s new tale of intrigue and deceit, The Lost Swimmer.

Lost Swimmer FINAL

Rebecca Wilding, an archaeology professor, makes sense of the past for a living. But truth and certainty are suddenly turning against her. Rebecca is accused of serious fraud, and worse, she suspects – she knows – that her husband, Stephen, is having an affair. Desperate to find answers, Rebecca leaves with Stephen for Greece, Italy and Paris, where she can uncover the conspiracy against her, and hopefully win Stephen back to her side, where he belongs. There’s too much at stake – her love, her family, her work.

But on the idyllic Amalfi Coast, Stephen disappears.

In a swirling daze of panic and fear, Rebecca now has to deal with fresh allegations. And with time against her, she finds help in the most unlikely of places and uncovers the secrets that stand between her and Stephen – and the deceit that has chased her halfway around the world.

Sometimes marriage is a lonely place.

amalfi coast


1. What is the significance of the title The Lost Swimmer? Does it have more than one interpretation?

2. What is the significance of the landscape, both urban and natural, in The Lost Swimmer? The book traverses the Australian coastline, heads to Greece and Crete, the Amalfi Coast, Venice and Paris; does each place reveal a new secret about the characters as they travel? These places also have romantic connotations. Could these places be replaced with any other parts of the world, or is the specific setting crucial to how the story unfolds?

3. The sea is an important element of The Lost Swimmer and it could almost be considered a character. How would you describe it, and does it affect the characters? If it does, how do the different characters interact with it?

4. Professor Rebecca Wilding is an archaeologist. She sifts through the physical evidence of history to piece together the past. Is she able to use her professional skills objectively to reveal what is happening in her marriage and to her husband?

5. What is the significance of the comet? How does this scene set up a sense of foreboding and deepen the feeling that something is not quite right in Rebecca’s usually stable world? What other events in the novel seem to add to this foreboding or sense that something bad is going to happen? How does this add to the atmosphere or mood of the novel?

6. The story is told from Rebecca’s perspective so it is always her point of view. Can her point of view be trusted? Do you ever doubt her point of view or feel less than sympathetic to her situation – both at the university and while she is travelling?

7. Loss of trust is one of the themes explored in The Lost Swimmer, but this is also juxtaposed with the theme of forgiveness. How do these two ideas play out? Do they lead the characters to some kind of redemption or self-realisation at the end of the novel?

8. What is the significance of the scene in which Rebecca’s dog, Big Boy, attacks Bonnie’s joey and then turns on his owner? Does this scene signify a shift in the direction of The Lost Swimmer? Bonnie and her joey appear again towards the end of the novel; does this event symbolise another shift in the story?

9. Betrayal is another theme woven through The Lost Swimmer. How does it add to the thriller element of the novel? Does it feel as if all the characters have a secret to hide or are covering up their own agenda or motives for behaving in the way they do? In what ways does the theme of betrayal play out in the novel?

10. In The Lost Swimmer, people and events are not always what they seem. Are some of the clues presented along the way red herrings, or do they all lead to the conclusion?

11. Stephen’s disappearance heightens the tension that echoes throughout the novel and it poses many questions for Rebecca and about Rebecca. How do you think she deals with the secrets that are revealed to her? What do you think of her reaction to Stephen’s fate?

12. The ending of The Lost Swimmer is surprising because of the twists and turns of the plot. Does it create more questions?

About Ann Turner

Ann_Turner2Ann turner is a screenwriter and director. She is drawn to salt-sprayed coasts and luminous landscapes all over the world – and to the people who inhabit them. She is a passionate gardener. Her films include the historical feature Celia, starring Rebecca Smart, which Time Out listed as one of the 50 greatest directorial debuts of all time; Hammers over the Anvil, starring Russell Crowe and Charlotte Rampling; and the psychological thriller Irresistible starring Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, and Emily Blunt. Ann has lectured in film at the Victorian College of the Arts. Returning to her first love, the written word, in her debut novel The Lost Swimmer, Ann explores themes of love, trust and the dark side of relationships.

The Lost Swimmer by Ann Turner is published by Simon & Schuster, rrp $29.99.


One response to “Book Club Pick: Ann Turner’s The Lost Swimmer

  1. Pingback: Book Club Pick: Ann Turner’s Out of the Ice | Good Reading Magazine·

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