Tor, Sep 2001, 25.95, 380 pp.
Six years ago Richard Brennan fled Scotland following the death of his wife because he could not cope with the memories and his subsequent grief. Now, he takes an all day and night flight home from Australia to attend his father's funeral. Ironically, his father, an architect, drowned just like Richard's spouse did.
To escape his latest sorrow that his current residence reminds him of with every nook and cranny, and his bewilderment about fate, Richard plays his fiddle in gigs in the nearby pubs. Still feeling alone, he wonders if he finally is losing his mind when Ailish appears ecstatically dancing and singing under the seaside moonlight. Richard joins her music with his fiddle, but soon loses his heart and soul to this siren of the sea.
SWIM THE MOON is a beautiful fantasy that provides imagery rarely seen in a novel whether it is Ailish or Richard's music, or the Northern Scottish coast. Richard is a haunting individual tormented by his love-hate for the sea that holds the mysteries of his family and his new love Ailish. Though some of the dialogue seems stilted, perhaps because the story line is so beautifully written, Paul Brandon's debut tale is a throwback to the bards of yore when poetry painted landscapes of the soul.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner