With the seasonal holidays approaching and, depending where you live, lockdowns might be the case for January/February, then you might need a good book to read and I have a great book for you that I read during the previous lockdown! It is called “In At The Deep End” by Alexander Gunz. The story, in a nutshell, is about 6 very different men whose lives intersect one morning at a London public swimming pool. I love how each chapter concentrates on each man and their journey to the pool one particular morning. As you read each individual story, their story builds until the chapter when they are all in the pool’s changing room. It is at that point when you suddenly realise how their lives have been joined together. It is a book all about relationships – how people interact, how loneliness can be felt even if you are surrounded by others, how fathers & children react to each other, dementia, how swimming was the release they had in common, how quick we are to judge others…. so much can be taken away from this novel yet it is still a delightful read! Cleverly written, easy to read yet thoughtful. Give the book a whirl!
It is with great pleasure to welcome onto the blog Alexander Gunz…..hi, Alexander…
Hi! I’m Alex. I am London-born and bred, having lived in the Edgware Road area all my adult life. I have two degrees (Philosophy, Politics & Economics, and English Literature). I work in finance by day, where I write all the external content for my firm. I am an avid reader and freelance restaurant reviewer in my spare time. I am married with two children.
Who or what inspired you to write “In At The Deep End”?
My Father has always inspired a love of reading in me (and the novel is dedicated to him). I have always wanted to write a novel, it was much more a matter of arriving at the right topic or theme. Walking around the Edgware Road area and visiting regularly the local pool gave me the idea.
I really enjoyed reading your book, “In At The Deep End”. I loved reading about the individual lives of the 6 very different men who used swimming as their release from their every day existence, and how their lives entwined one morning! I related to the man with the start of dementia- he reminded me of my father who had dementia for 12 years and how he was at the beginning as he tried to cling onto normality and stick to a routine. Was there any character that you particularly endeared yourself to?
The dementia inclusion was very deliberate and while I fortunately do not know anyone who has experienced dementia, I worked as a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Society in 2006-7 and was very moved by my experiences there. In terms of the characters in the novel, the cliché about all fiction is autobiography and all autobiography is fiction springs somewhat to mind. There is a little bit of me in each of the characters. It would be unfair to say that I have a favourite.
As you are an avid reader, averaging at least 50 novels a year over the last 20 years, were any aspects of writing of novel that surprised you, pleasantly or otherwise?
It was a wonderful experience to write a novel and to put myself metaphorically in the shoes of what it must be like to be an author. The idea-generation and the writing were relatively easy; the redrafting, editing and finessing was much more of a challenge.
What is your favourite genre and/or authors? Kindle or actual book?
Contemporary literary fiction and high modernism would be my favourite periods. Authors whom I rate highly would include Joseph Conrad and JG Ballard. Among more contemporary authors, Margaret Atwood would be a clear favourite. Always actual books; I love their tangibility.
Growing up, did you envisage yourself as a writer or did you have other career aspirations?
My earliest childhood desire was to be an astronaut and go to the moon! More seriously, I have always loved writing and to have the opportunity to write fiction as well as the work I do in finance (for my main job) has been massively satisfying.
Have you got other novels or plans in the pipeline for 2021 that you can tell us about?
I have written a number of short stories and may look to compile these in a volume.
Is “In At The Deep End” available to purchase worldwide?
Yes, via Amazon
If you could visit any place in the world to give you inspiration for your next book, where would you go and why?
Two countries I have visited in the past and whose cultures continue to fascinate me – in a very different ways – are Japan and Mexico. There are multiple stories and myths from both countries which could provide useful material.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Jeans and T-shirt if at home/ tailored suit and plain shirt if at work.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Would prefer to spend my money on books!
Boots or Shoes?
Am most likely to be found in a pair of old-school Adidas trainers; best for walking the streets around the Edgware Road and beyond
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc.
My restaurant Blog is as follows: www.gourmandgunno.com
Thank you Alex for chatting to us today ! Thank you (and Ben Cameron of Cameron Publicity & Marketing) for the copy of your book In At The Deep End to review.
All photographs (apart from the header picture © LindaHobden) have been published with kind permission of Alexander Gunz.