The Union of Synchronised Swimmers (Conversations with Spiderman and Other Lost Languages)

A jewel of a short novel, a magic weave of intertwined fates

 “Maybe they imagined they were stars, or angels, or insane birds. Sometimes they grabbed each other’s hands and legs and twisted them so harshly that it was a miracle nothing broke. When they all squatted in the water with just their hands above the surface, it was as if they were praying. There was something terrifying about it.”

Six girls grow up on a piece of land between two rivers, belonging to no state. Swimming is their passion, but also a way to reach out to the world. The girls form a team of synchronized swimming, performing skilful tricks in and under water.

Far away in Helsinki, Anita falls in love with the performing Spiderman. In California, Paulina gets on board a fishing boat to acquire the ingredients for the traditional soup in her homeland. On a Caribbean island, Betty gambles away all her money.

The stories of young rootless women, suffering from undefined feelings of longing, come together in a dazzling multifaceted novella, reaching across the world.

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  • Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

    "There are a lot of subsurface vibrations in the book. Desire, as well as clear threats, but we don’t know whether those actualize. Ingeniously disconnected stories entice the reader to continue. On the other hand, they suggest that Sandu also has larger stories to tell…
    The accurate, delicate and subtle writing relies on the refined and sparing characteristics of the Finnish modernism."