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Swimming Between Worlds  By  cover art

Swimming Between Worlds

By: Elaine Neil Orr
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
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Publisher's Summary

From critically acclaimed writer Elaine Neil Orr, a Southern coming-of-age novel that sets three very different young people against the tumultuous years of the American Civil Rights movement.

The lives of one young woman and two young men collide in a small neighborhood in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Kate, a recent college graduate, is still reeling from the deaths of her beloved parents when the discovery of hidden letters forces her to re-examine everything she knew about her family. Tacker, a young engineering student and all-around boy-hero, has returned from a West African odyssey where he fell in love with the local culture but was sent home in shame. Kate's and Tacker's stories come together when, on the same day and in different moments, they encounter a young African American man named Gaines. The relationship that develops between the three is complicated, as each one searches for love, freedom, and new beginnings.

©2018 Elaine Neil Orr (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A perceptive and powerful story told with generosity and grace. The struggle of its deftly-drawn young characters to navigate the monumental changes - cultural and personal - that the civil rights movement brought to the South is rich and compelling.” (New York Times best-selling author Charles Frazier)   

"A smart and tender tale. I was left with admiration for Orr's exquisite prose along with an awareness of one simple truth: sometimes it takes living in another culture to better understand your own. A beautiful book.” (Diane Chamberlain, New York Times best-selling author of The Stolen Marriage

“An original and important novel certain to take its place in American literature on race. The narrative unfolds with urgency and power, in graceful prose rich in sensuous detail. [Orr’s] finest work to date.” (Angela Davis-Gardner, author of Plum Wine

What listeners say about Swimming Between Worlds

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Awesome! Perfect in every way

I loved this book. Excellent storyline. Superb narration. Happy, sad, emotional. Prejudice during the 1950/60s in the South. So sad it’s over.

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Interesting story about desegregation, late 50's.

I found the plot compelling and the details about the protagonist's experiences in Nigeria were nicely intermixed with scenes in Winston-Salem. Usually I enjoy this narrator but her portrayal of Kate, a main character was awful! She sounded like an elderly, hesitant, depressed wallflower. The story would have had an entirely different tone if she sounded like the strong career woman who was emerging as the story unfolded.

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Exquisite book; narrator’s pseudo-southern accent annoying in parts

Loved reading and listening to this story. In the former, I imagined Tacker’s East-Carolinian accent to sound more authentic than his audiobook voice. But overall, the narrator read beautifully. I liked her Kate-voice. Gaines’ character too, sounded true to life.