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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

From the highly-acclaimed author of Small Pleasures - longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2021.

Abigail Jex never expected to see any of the Radley household again

The Radleys were extraordinary, captivating creatures transplanted from a bohemian corner of North London to outer suburbia, and the young Abigail found herself drawn into their magic circle: the eccentric Frances, her new best friend; Frances' mother, the liberated, headstrong Lexi; and of course the brilliant, beautiful Rad. 

Abigail thought she'd banished the ghost of her life with them and the catastrophe that ended it, but 13 years later a chance encounter forces her to acknowledge that the spell is far from broken....

©1998 Clare Chambers (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Learning to Swim

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  • Molly
  • 01-19-22

Wonderful coming of age novel

This is absolutely delightful - a gentle but absorbing story of a girl's obsession with an essentially dysfunctional but interesting family and the ripples that result from this relationship. I absolutely loved the narration and I listened to the whole thing in about two days. It reminded me a bit of I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith.
Clare Chambers is marvellous.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Philomena
  • 11-15-21

An awesome book about ordinary people.

Read 'Small pleasures' recently and just love this author's style. Learning to swim did not disappoint. Beautifully written observational gem.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-01-22

just brilliant

Claire Chambers is fast becoming a favourite author of mine. Her ability to draw characters and events is so insightful and clever that the plot almost becomes secondary. Fantastic narration, a joy to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Molly brown
  • 09-27-21

a quiet book

I enjoy Clare's writing, her characters are likeable and completely believable.
there were a few editing problems with this recording.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mrs N Matthias
  • 07-09-22

Stick to sweet valley high

This is my first book from this author and it will be my last. I had high expectations but where is the story. This is a book about a teenage crush and not even a mature one. When we arrived at a point in the story where we may get something more the author brushed over it and we quickly moved on. It felt like one of my teenage romance books. So awful I did something I never do, I returned a read title.

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  • wilmahatfit
  • 07-01-22

Wonderful

Refreshing to listen to a novel where the heroine is ordinary, not obsessed with fashion and appearance. I loved the relationships from childhood to maturity. I've enjoyed this author before but will certainly look out more of hers

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  • Katharine Kirby
  • 06-21-22

A meandering story with many twists and turns

The path of true love doesn’t run smooth for sure and this long story hits some rocks along the way. Reminding me of an old favourite ‘The Brother of the More Famous Jack’ by Barbara Trepido which runs along the same lines about a young girl being subsumed into a more lively and relaxed family than her own. Abigail and Frances become firm friends with Rad, Frances’s brother in the wings. A long listen, pleasurably narrated with plenty of wit and wisdom along the way plus one horrible shock to absorb. Wondering where ‘Half Moon Street’ is situated I imagined it as Friday Street in Surrey…

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  • Mellymoo
  • 06-06-22

Beautiful story

Beautiful story funny evocative and real vent to all of us who lived in 79’s as teens and beautifully told