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4.0 

Turning

By Jessica J. Lee
Turning by Jessica J. Lee digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

Longlisted for the 2018 Frank Hegyi Award for Emerging Authors

“Jessica J. Lee is a writer of rare and exhilarating grace. In Turning, she sounds the depths of lakes and her own life, never flinching from darkness, surfacing to fresh understandings of her place in the welter of natural and human history. A beautiful, moody, bracing debut.” —Kate Harris, award-winning author of Lands of Lost Borders

Through the heat of summer to the frozen depths of winter, Lee traces her journey swimming through 52 lakes in a single year, swimming through fear and heartbreak to find her place in the world


Jessica J. Lee swims through all four seasons and especially loves the winter. "I long for the ice. The sharp cut of freezing water on my feet. The immeasurable black of the lake at its coldest. Swimming then means cold, and pain, and elation."
     At the age of twenty-eight, Jessica, who grew up in Canada and lived in England, finds herself in Berlin. Alone. Lonely, with lowered spirits thanks to some family history and a broken heart, she is there, ostensibly, to write a thesis. And though that is what she does daily, what increasingly occupies her is swimming. So she makes a decision that she believes will win her back her confidence and independence: she will swim fifty-two of the lakes around Berlin, no matter what the weather or season. She is aware that this particular landscape is not without its own ghosts and history.
     This is the story of a beautiful obsession: of the thrill of a still, turquoise lake, of cracking the ice before submerging, of floating under blue skies, of tangled weeds and murkiness, of cool, fresh, spring swimmingof facing past fears of near-drowning and of breaking free.
     When she completes her year of swimming, Jessica finds she has new strengthand she has also found friends and has gained some understanding of how the landscape both haunts and holds us.
     This book is for everyone who loves swimming, who wishes they could push themselves beyond caution, who understands the deep pleasure of using the body's strength, who knows what it is to abandon all thought and float home to the surface.

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3 Reviews

4.0
“4.5 stars Slow and tender and vulnerable. This is really lovely. I know nothing of Germany so I had to go a bit slower with all the names. Learning to be okay with solitude is a wonderful thing!”
“Reading this memoir reminded me of a childhood favourite, Ruskin Bond. While he wrote of the crisp mountain air, she writes about the temperamental Berlin lakes. I love Jessica's honesty about the messy parts of her life- the strong associations she makes with every part of her journey - from packing the boiled eggs to stepping out of the lake and making small talk- It's all so deliberate and raw. The descriptions are vivid and at such a molecular level, if that makes sense? I do wish it was a bit more metaphorical and less literal at points. All in all, it is a book that pushes me to jump on my bike and explore the wild side of Berlin's landscape. Recommended!”
Slightly Smiling Face“Jessica's inspiring story is proof that overcoming obstacles, no matter how painful both physically and emotionally, are possible. Readers who have a love of being in the water will enjoy this read. Jessica is very descriptive of her feelings while in the water and the ambiance of the lakes. Turning can also be appealing to those who have experienced or are experiencing the need for a fresh start. But, regardless of the reason for deciding to read this book, know that you will find comfort in her words and finish the book with a sense of empowerment and strength.”
Believable charactersCharacters change and growMulti-layered charactersBeautifully writtenDescriptive writingEasy to readOriginal writing

About Jessica J. Lee

JESSICA J. LEE is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author, environmental historian, and winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature, the Banff Mountain Book Award, and the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award. She is the author of Turning, Two Trees Make a Forest, and the children’s book A Garden Called Home, and co-editor of the essay collection Dog Hearted. She is the founding editor of The Willowherb Review and teaches creative writing at the University of Cambridge. She lives in Berlin.

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