Graham Swift was born in 1949 and is the author of eight acclaimed novels and a collection of short stories; his most recent work is Making an Elephant, a book of essays, portraits, poetry and reflections on his life in writing. With Waterland he won the Guardian Fiction Prize (1983), and with Last Orders the Booker Prize (1996). Both novels have since been made into films. Graham Swift's work has appeared in over thirty languages.
Reviews from the UK:
"Like its predecessors, most notably "Waterland "and "Last Orders, Wish You Were Here "is a book of quiet emotional integrity . . . The novel expertly explores the poignant contrast between irrepressible human hope and the constraints within which we live our finite lives."
"An extraordinary novel . . . Novelists, being on the whole brainy people, like to write about brainy people, or make their characters better with words than they would be in real life . . . But as Swift's novels so brilliantly prove, just because someone doesn't have a way with words doesn't mean they can't experience deep emotion, or be powerfully moved by the forces of history and time . . . I doubt there is a better novelist than Swift for this kind of story."
"Like Ian McEwan's "Saturday, "or Sebastian Faulks's "A Week in December, "this novel draws on events from the news pages . . . But this emotionally complex novel is not mere reportage . . . It is Swift's most intimately revelatory novel yet . . . This is a profound and powerful portrait of a nation and a man in crisis that, for all its gentle intensity, also manages to be an unputdownable read."
--"Scotland on Sunday"
""Wish You Were Here "is a work of wide, ambitious span . . . Recounted in pages of affecting, powerfully sober prose . . . What gives [the novel] a compelling hold is Swift's real strength, the authenticity that hallmarks his portrayals of people in crisis."
--"The Sunday Times"
"An acutely observed, compelling read."
"Swift is as brilliant as ever on the potency of family myth . . . This novel is often astonishingly moving."
"I cannot tell you exactly how long after I finished this book that I sat, holding it, in stunned silence for--but it was light when I finished it and dark when I put it down. Some books can do that to you. This is one of them . . .
This perfectly titled novel is about longing for the people in our lives who have died. Taking place over just a few days, it focuses on Jack Luxton's journey to retrieve the remains of his brother Tom, a soldier who died in Iraq. The brothers grew up on a farm in the British countryside, and hovering over the story is the specter of mad cow disease on one end and terror (both political and personal) on the other. Madness and terror certainly infect Jack, who has suffered the loss of nearly everyone he loves. The question that propels the action is whether he will ultimately destroy himself as well. Like Swift's Waterland, this book explores the ways the past haunts us, and, like his Booker Prize-winning Last Orders, it uses a death as a provocation for the examination of self and country. VERDICT Swift has written a slow-moving but powerful novel about the struggle to advance beyond grief and despair and to come to grips with the inevitability of change. Recommended for fans of Ian McEwan, Michael Ondaatje, and Kazuo Ishiguro, authors with a similar method of slowly developing an intense interior narrative. [See Prepub Alert, 9/30/11.]-Evelyn Beck, Piedmont Technical Coll., Greenwood, SC (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.