Shortlisted for the 2021 ReLit Award
Shortlisted for the 2021 Toronto Book Award
Certain Women meets The Mars Room in this debut collection featuring three pairs of stories.
Sharp and stylistic, the trifecta of diptychs that is Swimmers in Winter swirls between real and imagined pasts and futures to delve into our present cultural moment: conflicts between queer people and the police; the impact of homophobia, bullying, and PTSD; the dynamics of women’s friendships; life for queer women in Toronto during WWII and after; the intersections between class identities and queer identities; experiences of economic precarity and precarious living conditions; the work of being an artist; dystopian worlds; and the impact of gentrification on public space. These are soul-searching, plot-driven character studies equally influenced by James Baldwin, Christopher Isherwood, and Elena Ferrante.
Faye Guenther lives in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in literary magazines including Joyland and she has published a chapbook, Flood Lands, with Junction Books. Swimmers in Winter is her first collection of short fiction.
“In tight but vivid prose, Faye Guenther has created a masterful symphony of sensation and meaning. It seems too easy to simply say that I loved this collection, but I did. Swimmers in Winter is a wonderful debut and offers a hauntingly beautiful meditation on uncertainty, pain, love, sexuality, and selfhood.”—The Miramichi Reader
“[T]ense and heartbreaking, the stories in Swimmers in Winter are also dynamic and sexy. Guenther shines a light on queer women and their experiences in an honest way that isn’t done enough in literature.”—This Magazine
“Swimmers in Winter is a perfect title for this book, as its characters are all trying to stay afloat in unwelcoming environments… their stories are memorable.”—Maisonneuve
“Faye Guenther lovingly tells the stories of ordinary women, whose lives have yet been mostly ignored by literature. Each character in this collection is a planet unto herself: the stories part the mists and show the miles to the surface. Dizzying, precise, and beautiful.”—Thea Lim, author of An Ocean of Minutes
“Faye Guenther’s writing is fully given over to both the heart and mind. Her clear-eyed observations of the secrets we keep and the confessions we make lend the stories in Swimmers in Winter uncommon grace and raw beauty. Guenther traces the paths of women in the city, struggling to survive, keep themselves fed and afloat while also falling hard for each other. In turns sexy and tender, tough and head-swirling, these characters will leave you changed.”—Emily Schultz, author of Little Threats