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Swimming Toward the Light

TitleSwimming Toward the Light
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1990
AuthorsClark, Joan
ISBN Number9780864923462
Author Profile: 

The Murray’s are a young family living in Liverpool, N.S. just following the end of World War II. Madge and Ardith, the two daughters, run happily through the town playing with friends, and getting to know the soldiers who are moving in and out of the town. The story is focused on one daughter in particular, Madge, and her growth from young girl to woman. Madge is a romantic at heart and idealizes the relationships she sees around her, particularly those she sees in movies. As she grows up, Madge finds herself falling for any man who tries to romance her. Eventually she meets Doug who sweeps her off her feet, and they quickly get married. Leaving school behind, and ignoring her dream of becoming an artist Madge follows Doug, believing in a lifetime of romance and love. When the romance fades, Madge finds herself surrounded by kids and a distant relationship with her husband. Problems occur when another woman emerges in Doug’s life, and Madge must learn to discover who she is without Doug.


“During the early years of her marriage, Madge would take the loving cup out of its box on their wedding anniversary and put it on the dining-room table. Before she and Doug ate one of her special dinners, they would fill the cup with wine and drink to each other. It was never Doug’s idea they do this, but he might have thought of it himself if Madge had forgotten. After they had finished their dinner, Madge would rinse out the cup and put it back on the shelf. On their fifth anniversary, several months after Theo was born, Madge was too tired and distracted to remember to do this and left the cup on the table overnight, along with the dirty dishes and tubs of half-eaten food. (She had not been up to cooking that meal. Doug had sent out for Mexican food instead.) The next morning, while Madge and Doug were in bed, Shelley got hold of the cup when she was playing house with her dolls. The cup was too large for her hands. When Madge got up, she saw it lying in six or seven pieces on the hardwood floor.” (93)