By Karl Luntta

Subjects: Fiction
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438458724, 180 pages, September 2015

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Table of contents

A Virgin Twice
Jeff Call Beth
Cold On Ice
His Sanitary Bed
Blue Jays
At Times like This

Compelling stories of intercultural contact and emotional survival in a complex world.


A swimming pool in the Kalahari Desert, the ice skates of a boy in a wheelchair, and a midnight train ride in the cool African night form the backdrop of the eight diverse stories in Swimming. Some of the stories take place in Africa, others in the United States, but in all of them, the characters confront cultural and racial differences, both historically and in the present. In "A Virgin Twice," an American teaching in Botswana struggles to understand a village's response to a violent assault. In "Jeff Call Beth," a white American father attempts to connect with the daughter he left behind in Africa. And in the title story, "Swimming," a Danish expatriate dying of cancer decides to build an Olympic-sized swimming pool in the Kalahari Desert. All of these characters are clinging to emotional survival in a complex world, confronted by a moment or element of their lives that is perplexing, perhaps devastating, but which they need to resolve.

Karl Luntta is the author of the novel Know It by Heart as well as numerous travel books. His stories have appeared in International Quarterly, Talking River, and Baltimore Review. He lives outside Albany, New York.


"The collection, made up of equal parts of heartbreak and hope, contains, above all, good writing. Writing of the classic kind, with the subtle utility of a good African proverb. " — Peace Corps Worldwide

"Luntta's prose is refreshingly accessible and conversational … These are intimate stories, with an authenticity reminiscent of tales told at family gatherings and passed from one generation to the next … His writing has an ease of pace and a charming unfussiness that is extremely appealing, and which allows the reader that rare feeling of being present in the narrative. " — The Literary Review

"Karl Luntta's Swimming takes us from Botswana to America and back to Africa, in short stories that capture humanity from childhood to old age. Luntta's great strength: crystallizing the moments when lives are changed and the future (as well as one's memories of the past) is altered. " — John Coyne