Night Swimming Stories

Pete Fromm




Trade Paperback

192 Pages



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Pete Fromm's fiction carries the immediacy, integrity, and truth of experience, as it explores the permutations of everyday human relationships. Through his stories, we come to consider the mystery in the lives even of those closest to us. Filled with respect and admiration for his characters as they draw hope and possibility from their day-to-day dilemmas, Night Swimming affirms Pete Fromm's reputation as one of the nation's foremost fiction writers.

Table of Contents

How All This Started

Night Swimming

The Investigator

The Raw Material of Ash


Black Tie and Blue Jeans






The Thatch Weave

The Gravy on the Cake


Praise for Night Swimming

"I read Fromm with growing admiration for the vigor of his well-made writing and for generous heart. Night Swimming finds him at the center of the urgent, affecting world he has made his own."—Thomas McGuane

"This book sets free a great Montana secret—the world of Pete Fromm. He not only knows his people, he loves and respects them. Night Swimming is a joy to read."—Chris Offutt

"Pete Fromm is one of America's best-kept literary secrets, a superbly skillful stylist and such a masterful storyteller for a writer so young, it hardly seems fair to the rest of us. My enthusiasm for this book is boundless; it's not only wonderful writing but it's supremely entertaining to read. Night Swimming is a knock-out collection, a big, beautiful breakout for Fromm."—Thom Jones

"When I read the collection Dry Rain, I said to myself and all who would listen, here's a writer of real consequence and from whom we've much to expect. With Night Swimming, Pete Fromm exceeds expectation: great range here, great delicacy, great news."—Nicholas Delbanco

"Occasionally, someone rises to the challenge of short fiction with a superb collection of stories. Pete Fromm's Night Swimming is one of those books, a small volume that gracefully reveals the stunning achievement a writer at the top of his form may turn out within the austere limitations of this kind of fiction."—Great Falls Tribune (Montana)

"One of the Northwest's finest practitioners of the short story . . . pens another stellar collection that showcases Fromm's impressive dexterity."—The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Sometimes shocking, often just frightfully human [moments] give the thirteen stories of Night Swimming their emotional punch. Fromm's works are shrewd reminders of how perfectly art can illuminate the petty indecencies of everyday life."—The Boston Phoenix

1"Pete Fromm's characters . . . are real, endearing and memorable, full of life and humor, as they struggle to find closeness in a world that seems heavily biased toward separation."—Grand Rapids Press

"Thirteen winning stories by western author Fromm, who trades more on character than on locale in this, his sixth book. Although most of the people in these pages have spent their entire lives somewhere west of Laramie, they are all weighed down by an overwhelming gloom that seems to have migrated straight from Hawthornes New England. The narrator of the title story, for instance, is consumed with remorse over his senile mothers long decline and freakish death (thinking it was summertime, she went swimming and froze in the snow). Not content to watch her fade away during her final years, he become a janitor so as to get a job at her nursing home and be close to her; now, with her dead, his life has no purpose. The Raw Material of Ash portrays the malaise of a young carpenter and his unhappy wife; once talented and ambitious, the husband now makes cheap cremation coffins for a funeral home and with stupefied regret faces the impending breakup of his marriage. In Black Tie and Blue Jeans, a middle-aged loser tries to rekindle his lost sense of hope when he meets a young woman who confesses she used to have a crush on him when she worked at his restaurant years before. Cowbird is a heartbreaking account of a childless couple who adopt a sickly infant, while Doors describes the domestic traumas engendered by a teenagers pregnancy. The strangest tale here is The Thatch Weave: told from the perspective of a ten-year-old boy who refuses to face the reality of his infant sisters imminent death, it has a haunting intensity that sets it apart. Vivid and sharp, written with a startling coolness that only serves to heighten the emotional forcefulness of the narratives themselves."—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Pete Fromm

  • Pete Fromm is the author most recently of the novel How All This Started. He won Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards for the story collection Dry Rain (1997) and the memoir Indian Creek Chronicles (1994). He has published over a hundred stories, earning nominations for the Pushcart Prize, among other honors. He lives with his family in Great Falls, Montana.

  • Pete Fromm Tom Kotynski