The Union of Synchronized Swimmers
Winner of the 2020 Toisinkoinen Literary Prize
It's summer behind the Iron Curtain, and six girls begin a journey to the Olympics. But will they return?
In a stateless place, on the wrong side of a river separating East from West, six girls meet each day to swim. At first, they play, splashing each other and floating languidly on the water's surface. But as summer draws to an end, the game becomes something more.
They hone their bodies relentlessly. Their skin shades into bruises. They barter cigarettes stolen from the factory where they work for swimsuits to stretch over their sunburnt skin. They tear their legs into splits, flick them back and forth, like herons. They master holding their breath underwater.
Then, one day, it finally happens: their visas arrive. But can what's waiting on the other side of the river satisfy their longing for a different kind of life?