Book Spotlight: Elaine Neil Orr's Swimming Between Worlds

Nigeria intersects with Winston-Salem in a new novel

TACKER HART BARELY recognizes the North Carolina town he returns to after a hasty exit from two years of working in Nigeria. An interstate has been built on the edge of his childhood neighborhood. There’s a new shopping center. And a new university campus, Wake Forest. It’s July 1959 and the engineering student has some adjusting to do. 

So begins Swimming Between Worlds (416 pages, $16, Berkley), a touching and poignant novel by N.C. State English professor Elaine Neil Orr. An evolving Winston-Salem, on the cusp of the civil rights era, serves as the backdrop for her coming-of-age tale filled with vivid scenes and relatable dialogue. Tacker’s struggle to find his place in a changing world prompts introspection among readers. We might have some adjusting to do, too. 

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