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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Swim Back to Me Author Ann Packer Takes a Calm Look at Rough Situations

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Ann Packer - (CC) LARRY D. MOORE
  • (CC) Larry D. Moore
  • Ann Packer

The cover of Swim Back to Me, as you can see, the new book by San Carlos author Ann Packer, bears a picture of a pink candy heart on a fishhook. Perhaps it's a sly rebuke to the unspoken notion of Packer, who appears Thursday at Booksmith in the Haight, as mere "women's fiction" specialist. Yes, the same cover also invokes her bestselling debut novel, The Dive from Clausen's Pier, but in relatively fine print; it's the image that grabs you and gets you wondering: Who would cast such bait? Who would take it? Will this book be a process of reeling in, of tossing back?

Ann Packer - (CC) LARRY D. MOORE
  • (CC) Larry D. Moore
  • Ann Packer
Perspectives will vary. In fact they already have: Swim Back to Me has been said to contain two novellas and four short stories -- or one novella and five short stories. And so Packer's subtly implied defiance of categorical expectation continues. What is clear right away, aside from Packer's Stanford-area upbringing, is her perception of family tragedies and human responses thereto, each delicately layered with revelatory quotidian details. NPR's Tom Ashbrook calls her "a genius at revealing what we really ought to know."

The intrepid literary fictioneer presents her work at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight (at Belvedere) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free.

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About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

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SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

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