Chenia Arnow is a Russian-Jewish immigrant in 1950s New York, a sharp-witted, Betty Grable look-alike whose accent and Old-World superstitions mask untapped passions and intellectual curiosity. Her husband Ruben is a handsome philanderer who has a knack for creating phony lawsuits. Their precocious daughter Devorah, tells–and often imagines–the richly involving story of their lives.
No one expects the devoted Chenia to fall under the spell of a lover of her own, but the Arnows' lives unfold in many surprises. In tart and seductive storytelling, Swimming Toward the Ocean
follows husbands and wives and children through often shifting and misguided connections, illuminating the timeless patterns of immigrant life, and the search for love and a place in a new world.
"Achieves such a fine balance of humor, pathos, and atmosphere that one is tempted to call it a masterpiece of its kind." —Elle
“The story-telling is engaging, full of the quotidian joys and sorrows of a winning and indomitable woman.” — The Washington Post Book World
“The Arnow family is utterly irresistible. É Their resilience É becomes a testament to the profound recuperative power of the human spirit. Swimming Toward the Ocean navigates important family territory with precision and warmth.” — Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Very exciting fiction indeed . . . Luminous with clear-sighted compassion for its imperfect characters” --Kirkus Reviews