Set in the bleak Fen Country of East Anglia, and spanning some 240 years in the lives of its haunted narrator and his ancestors, Waterland is a book that takes in eels and incest, ale-making and madness, the heartless sweep of history and a family romance as tormented as any in Greek tragedy.
"Waterland, like the Hardy novels, carries with all else a profound knowledge of a people, a place, and their interweaving.... Swift tells his tale with wonderful contemporary verve and verbal felicity.... A fine and original work."--Los Angeles Times
An admirable collection. Each story has its subtle nuances of narrative and language which established a quite distinct character. A most impressive work of fiction The Times Graham Swifts taut prose style, natural gift for characterization and tight grasp of the details and complexities of real life combine beautifully in these concentrated and enigmatic stories to offer an incisive exposé of the illusion, subterfuge and enigma of everyday interaction. Focusing on the combative relationships between men and women between a mismatched couple; an ageing doctor and his hypochondriacal patient; a teenage refugee swept up in the conflict of an oppressively sentimental father and his rebellious son these spare, Kafkaesque stories are a microcosm for all human cruelty and need. Graham Swift . . . has a wide range; he can be delicately sensitive or outrageously funny. He is a born storyteller Daily Telegraph He has style and he has range, and quiet strengths that are continuously and effortlessly displayed. Graham Swift should be read by everyone with an interest in the art of the short story Eveing Standard
Prentis, senior clerk in the dead crimes department of police archives, is becoming more and more confused. Alienated from his wife and children, and obsessed by his father, a wartime hero now the mute inmate of a mental hospital, Prentis feels increasingly unsettled as his enigmatic boss, Mr Quinn, turns his investigation towards him and his father. Gradually Prentis suspects that his fathers breakdown and Quinns menacing behaviour are connected and the link is to be found in his fathers memoirs, Shuttlecock . . . Excellent, profound Alan Hollinghurst, London Review of Books An astonishing study of forms of guilt, laced with a thread of detection, and puckering now and then into outrageous humour Sunday Times A superbly written claustrophobic account of power that corrupts private and public life and of guilt that becomes obsession Daily Telegraph Swifts central strength as a writer is his integrity. Story and character ae treated with a seriousness and respect that while allowing for the oddity of human behaviour Shuttlecock is thoroughly and beautifully odd always honours them Times Literary Supplement Serious, moving and often very funny indeed Observer
Not a book the reader is likely to forget, Out of this World deserves to be ranked at the forefront of contemporary literature New York Times Book Review In 1972, Robert Beech, First World War survivor and present-day armaments maker, is killed by a car bomb. The event breaks the career of his son Harry, a news photographer, and comes close to destroying his granddaughter Sophie. Ten years later, the Falklands War has begun and both Harry, now working as an aerial photographer, and Sophie, visiting an analyst in New York, are haunted by a past that has scarred and divided them. As tense as a thriller . . . a powerful and exciting book that raises uncomfortable political questions The Times It appeals to the emotions, the intellect and the imagination, and its elegance is as durable as Greek art . . . a novel for those who still believe in the importance of fiction, indeed of art Scotsman The novel succeeds brilliantly. The impression is of having been shown all the majesty as well as the emotional complexity of history Time Out
The first novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of Last Orders and Waterland In the sweet shop Willy Chapman was free, absolved from all responsibility, and he ran his sweet shop like his life quietly, steadfastly, devotedly. It was a bargain struck between Chapman and his beautiful, emotionally injured wife a bargain based on unexpressed, inexpressible love and on a courageous acceptance of lifes deprivations . . . threatened only by Dorry, their clever, angry, unforgiving daughter. In his moving first novel, The Sweet Shop Owner, Graham Swift illuminates the history of one man through flashbacks on the last day of that mans life. Through the succinctly evoked provincial decades one of the engrossing features is the difficulty of love and of communication between generations London Review of Books This beautifully balanced novel describes the arrangements, accommodations, pacts and treaties of our ordinary lives The Times A quiet but beautifully shaped book Literary Review Book forbook, Swift is surely one of Englands finest novelists John Banville A remarkable novel . . . There is a touch of Joyce in Graham Swifts revelation of the hidden poetry of small mens lives New York Times Book Review