Prentis, the narrator of this nightmarish novel, catalogs "dead crimes" for a branch of the London Police Department and suspects that he is going crazy. His files keep vanishing. His boss subjects him to cryptic taunts. His family despises him. And as Prentis desperately tries to hold on to the scraps of his sanity, he uncovers a conspiracy of blackmail and betrayal that extends from his department and into the buried past of his father, a war hero code-named "Shuttlecock"-and, lately, a resident of a hospital for the insane.
How will Jane Fairchild, orphan and housemaid, occupy her time when she has no mother to visit? How, shaped by the events of this never to be forgotten day, will her future unfold?
Beginning with an intimate assignation and opening to embrace decades, Mothering Sundayhas at its heart both the story of a life and the life that stories can magically contain. Constantly surprising, joyously sensual and deeply moving, it is Graham Swift at his thrilling best.
The men and women in these spare, Kafkaesque stories are engaged in struggles that are no less brutal because they are fought by proxy. In Graham Swift's taut prose, these quiet combative relationships-between a mismatched couple; an aging doctor and his hypochondriacal patient; a teenage refugee swept up in the conflict between an oppressively sentimental father and his rebellious son-become a microcosm for all human cruelty and need.
"Swift proves throughout this ambitious collection that he is a master of his language and the construction of provocative situations."-
These 25 new short stories, written to go together and none of them previously published, mark Booker Prize-winning Graham Swift's return to the short form after 7 acclaimed novels, and affirm him as a master storyteller.
Swift's England is a richly peopled country that is both a crucible of history and a maze of contemporary confusions. Meet Dr. Shah who has never been to India and Mrs. Kaminski, on her way to Poland by way of her hospital bed. Meet Holly and Polly who have come to their own Anglo-Irish understanding, and Lily Hobbs, married to a shirt. There's Charlie and Don, who have seen the docks turn into the Docklands; Daisy Baker, who is terrified of Yorkshire; and Johnny Dewhurst, of Leeds, lost on Exmoor.
Graham Swift steers us effortlessly from the Civil War to the present day, and the secret dramas contained within walls, rooms, homes, workplaces. With his remarkable sense of place and voice, he charts an intimate geography that moves us profoundly and yet at times makes us laugh out loud. Binding these stories together is his grasp of the universal in the local and his affectionate but unflinching instinct for narrative. evokes that mysterious body that is a nation by giving us the palpable sense of individual bodies finding or losing their way in the nationless territories of birth, love, sex, aging and death.
Dazzling in its structure and shattering in its emotional force, Graham Swift's spans two centuries and settings from the adulterous bedrooms of postwar Paris to the contemporary entanglements in the groves of academe. It is the story of Bill Unwin, a man haunted by the death of his beautify wife and a survivor himself of a recent brush with mortality. And although it touches on Darwin and dinosaurs, bees and bridge builders, the true subject of is nothing less than the eternal question, "Why should things matter?"
" is explicitly concerned with historical investigation, love, death, family affairs…. It moves quickly, and it vibrates with feeling and thought."-