An unnamed protagonist is on holiday with her new, much-married lover, in the company of the monstrously rich.
'How long would she last? It would be uppermost in all their minds.'
Each day, while the others are out at sea, she is taught to swim. Eventually, she will be expected to perform. The pressure mounts; it is only a matter of time before she snaps.
Edna O'Brien crafts a quietly horrifying scene of eroticism and insecurity, and makes one woman's near-fatal discomfort stand for society's larger trap.