Sharp and stylistic, the trifecta of diptychs that is Swimmers in Winter swirls between real and imagined pasts and futures to delve into our present cultural moment: conflicts between queer people and the police; the impact of homophobia, bullying, and PTSD; the dynamics of women’s friendships; life for queer women in Toronto during WWII and after; the intersections between class identities and queer identities; experiences of economic precarity and precarious living conditions; the work of being an artist; dystopian worlds; and the impact of gentrification on public space. These are soul-searching, plot-driven character studies equally influenced by James Baldwin, Christopher Isherwood, and Elena Ferrante.
Faye Guenther's writing is fully given over to both the heart and mind. Her clear-eyed observations of the secrets we keep and the confessions we make lend the stories in Swimmers in Winter uncommon grace and raw beauty. Guenther traces the paths of women in the city, struggling to survive, keep themselves fed and afloat while also falling hard for each other. In turns sexy and tender, tough and head-swirling, these characters will leave you changed.—Emily Schultz, author of Little Threats