Where We Swim
‘I’d wanted to remember why it was we swam in the first place – to remember the pleasure of immersing in an element other than air.’
Ingrid Horrocks had few aspirations to swimming mastery, but she had always loved being in the water. She set out on a solo swimming journey, then abandoned it for a different kind of swimming altogether – one which led her to more deeply examine relationships, our ecological crisis, and responsibilities to collective care. Why do people swim, and where, how, with whom?
Where We Swim ranges from solitary swims in polluted lakes and rivers in Aotearoa New Zealand, to swims in pools in Medellín, Phoenix and the Peruvian Amazon. Near Brighton, Horrocks is joined by an imagined community of early women swimmers; back home she takes her first tentative swim after lockdown. Part memoir, part travel and nature writing, this book is about being a daughter, sister, partner, mother, and above all a human animal living among other animals – sheep and cows, whales and manatee, elks and ibises.
'Beautiful, surprising, mysterious, deep and reflective' —Hannah Tunnicliffe, Kete
‘Where We Swim is a book about family that travels by water in the body of a swimmer. Horrocks is someone with an appetite for adventure but she is also the mother of young children and daughter of older parents. She brilliantly contrasts heady plunges of bodily experience with chilling alarms about family. This book is filled with wanderlust, but also homesickness for a past when our waterways didn’t have high coliform counts and Wellington’s bays weren’t soupy with saIp, and for the whole swimmable world it so vividly remembers.’ —Elizabeth Knox, author of The Absolute Book
‘Where We Swim captures the sense of uncertainty any swimmer feels when they step into unknown waters and Ingrid Horrocks' words carry us on a powerful current – sometimes gentle, sometimes urgent – of concern for our planet and joy at its beauty.’ —Sophie Cunningham, author of City of Trees
'Digressive, provocative and strangely compelling.' —Sally Blundell, Academy of New Zealand Literature
Paperback, 227 x 152mm, 224 pages
Cover design: Keely O’Shannessy
Ingrid Horrocks is the author of Travelling with Augusta: 1835 and 1999 (VUP, 2003), Women Wanderers and the Writing of Mobility (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and two collections of poetry. With Cherie Lacey, she is the co-editor of Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays on Place from Aotearoa New Zealand (VUP, 2016). Ingrid teaches creative writing at Massey University, Wellington.