She swims into the medals and then into oblivion – a sensuous, searing, compact debut from an outstanding British writer. This is a striking, supple and direct debut from an English writer that both promises an exceptionally exciting future and provides an unusual, accomplished and saleable debut. It’s a character piece, charting the life of a girl who becomes besotted with butterflies and swimming on the same holiday when an infant, then grows up to become a world-class swimmer before, at 19, obsolescence overtakes her with disorienting haste… If taken on its own terms – as an intense and focused portrait – it is simply staggering; a miniature, but a perfect one. It is stuffed with gorgeously apt and fresh imagery and has tremendous verve about it. It reads, in fact, like a race, as it should.