Swimming at Night

A Novel

Swimming at Night

A young woman travels the globe to retrace the final months of her sister’s life in search of answers about her death in this dark, gripping debut novel of family, secrets, and loss.

Katie’s world is shattered by the news that her headstrong and bohemian younger sister, Mia, has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Bali. The authorities say that Mia jumped—that her death was a suicide.

Although they’d hardly spoken to each other since Mia suddenly left on an around-the-world trip six months earlier, Katie refuses to accept that her sister would have taken her own life. Distraught that they never made peace, Katie leaves her orderly, sheltered life in London behind and embarks on a journey to find out the truth. With only the entries of Mia’s travel journal as her guide, Katie retraces the last few months of her sister’s life, and—page by page, country by country—begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her death. . . .

Weaving together the exotic settings and suspenseful twists of Alex Garland’s The Beach with a powerful tale of familial love in the spirit of Rosamund Lupton’s Sister, Swimming at Night is a fast-paced, accomplished, and gripping debut novel of secrets, loss, and forgiveness.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451690651 | 
  • April 2014
List Price $16.99 (price may vary by retailer)

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Swimming at Night includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Lucy Clarke. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


The relationship between sisters is never simple, as Lucy Clarke illustrates in her debut novel, Swimming at Night. Katie and Mia shared the ups and downs of sisterhood—the fierce love and loyalty, the friendship, as well as the jealousy, disappointment, and anger. But a late-night visit from the police changes everything when Katie learns that Mia has been found dead in Bali. Unwilling to believe the evidence pointing toward suicide, Katie flies around the world following the entries in Mia’s travel journal—searching for truth, understanding, and finally, forgiveness.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. Did you believe that Mia committed suicide? Did you change your mind about whether or not she did throughout the course of the story? If so, at which points and why?
2. There’s a fine line between love and hate when it comes to sisters: “Sometimes the line between the two was so fine it was difficult to see which si see more

More Books from this Author

The Blue
A Single Breath

About the Author

Lucy Clarke
Photograph by James Bowden

Lucy Clarke

Lucy Clarke is the author of Swimming at Night and A Single Breath. She and her husband, a professional windsurfer, spend their winters traveling and their summers at their home on the south coast of England. Visit Lucy-Clarke.com.