Search Results

Advanced Search

1 to 15 of 51 results

Sort by:

Filter by:


Article Types


What difference does it make?

Deborah Friedell: Graham Swift, 26 April 2007

by Graham Swift.
Picador, 248 pp., £16.99, April 2007, 978 0 330 45018 8
Show More
Show More
... them have their birthday, their last birthday of that old life.’ In his seven previous novels, Graham Swift has committed himself to writing about ordinary Englishmen (this is his first novel narrated entirely by a woman). His characters are shopowners and teachers, clerks, butchers, undertakers, insurance agents. ‘I am the kind of writer,’ he has ...

How’s the Empress?

James Wood: Graham Swift, 17 April 2003

The Light of Day 
by Graham Swift.
Hamish Hamilton, 244 pp., £16.99, February 2003, 0 241 14204 0
Show More
Show More
... in The Waste Land, Pinter with Sidcup in The Caretaker, McEwan with Dollis Hill in The Innocent. Graham Swift knows all about such effects, and knows – as Pinter does – that they will probably now be self-conscious, deliberate dives into the sublime banal. Nowadays a novelist’s characters may themselves be knowingly aware of the effects of ...


Alan Hollinghurst, 17 September 1981

by Graham Swift.
Allen Lane, 220 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 7139 1413 0
Show More
The Frights 
by Nicholas Salaman.
Alison Press/Secker, 170 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 436 44085 7
Show More
March House 
by Mary Hocking.
Chatto, 222 pp., £6.95, August 1981, 0 7011 2586 1
Show More
The Missing Person 
by Doris Grumbach.
Hamish Hamilton, 252 pp., £7.95, August 1981, 0 241 10660 5
Show More
Show More
... In his moving first novel The Sweet Shop Owner Graham Swift illuminated the history of one man through flashbacks on the last day of that man’s life. Through the succinctly evoked provincial decades one of the engrossing features was the difficulty of love and of communication between generations, even within a family – a problem which threatened, at a local level, the transmission of a sense of history or a justification of the past which Swift so perceptively re-created ...

Verbing a noun

Patrick Parrinder, 17 March 1988

Out of this World 
by Graham Swift.
Viking, 208 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 670 82084 9
Show More
Three Farmers on their Way to a Dance 
by Richard Powers.
Weidenfeld, 352 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 297 79273 3
Show More
The March Fence 
by Matthew Yorke.
Viking, 233 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 670 81848 8
Show More
What is the matter with Mary Jane? 
by Daisy Waugh.
Heinemann, 182 pp., £10.95, February 1988, 0 434 84390 3
Show More
Show More
... men in felt hats and starched collars walking along a country road, which Sander took in May 1914. Graham Swift is another novelist who, like Powers, is burdened by history, and for whom the central theme of modern life is our own historical self-consciousness. The 20th century, for these writers, is the historical century par excellence. The 19th, by ...


Stephen Wall, 12 March 1992

Ever After 
by Graham Swift.
Picador, 261 pp., £14.99, February 1992, 0 330 32331 8
Show More
Show More
... Graham Swift’s new novel, like its two predecessors, is about a man who wants to reconstruct the past. In Waterland (1983) this enterprise was conducted – plausibly enough if rather insistently – by a history teacher who saw in his imminent redundancy more than the demotion of his subject. Cutting back on history meant cutting off adults as well as children from the stories about the world that are among their deepest needs ...

Flying the flag

Patrick Parrinder, 18 November 1993

The Modern British Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 512 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 436 20132 1
Show More
After the War: The Novel and English Society since 1945 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 310 pp., £17.99, September 1993, 9780701137694
Show More
Show More
... placid affair. On one matter Taylor has quite irresponsibly altered his views. In A Vain Conceit Graham Swift was enthusiastically welcomed as one of an emerging group of younger writers; in After the War Taylor remarks woundingly and in passing that ‘you and I might suspect that the new Graham Swift is ...

Beware Remembrance Sunday

Tim Parks: Graham Swift, 2 June 2011

Wish You Were Here 
by Graham Swift.
Picador, 353 pp., £18.99, June 2011, 978 0 330 53583 0
Show More
Show More
... relation to each other and the world, is somewhat overshadowed by the melodramatic frame in which Swift sets his novel. The opening pages give us an older Jack gazing from a window through heavy rain at a seaside view, a shotgun on the bed beside him. His thoughts are of the mad cow cull, 9/11, the war on terror and the whereabouts of a certain ...

Involuntary Memories

Gaby Wood, 8 February 1996

Last Orders 
by Graham Swift.
Picador, 295 pp., £15.99, January 1996, 0 330 34559 1
Show More
Show More
... which is beyond his control, something bound to happen to someone who tries to play God. In Graham Swift’s latest novel Vince remembers thinking that answering questions about what he wants to be is dangerous: making one choice, communing just once with fate, will seal his identity for good. The ‘accident of birth’ he has in mind is that of ...


Christopher Driver, 6 October 1983

by Graham Swift.
Heinemann, 310 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 434 75330 0
Show More
Perfect Happiness 
by Penelope Lively.
Heinemann, 233 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 434 42740 3
Show More
Scenes from Later Life 
by William Cooper.
Macmillan, 258 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 333 34204 6
Show More
Summer at The Haven 
by Katharine Moore.
Allison and Busby, 158 pp., £6.95, April 1983, 0 85031 511 5
Show More
Show More
... Of these novels, the one with legs and a long finish, as the wine-tasters say, is Graham Swift’s Waterland, his third. The story – which is at once story and history, erzählung and geschichte – is sustained within, or threaded into, an intricate web of interlocking images. Or rather, to respect its prevailing metaphor, it floats and develops in an amniotic fluid of local, biological and antiquarian detail ...


Jeremy Treglown, 6 August 1992

Writers on World War Two: An Anthology 
edited by Mordecai Richler.
Chatto, 752 pp., £18.99, February 1992, 0 7011 3912 9
Show More
Legacies and Ambiguities: Post-war Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan 
edited by Ernestine Schlant and Thomas Rimer.
Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Johns Hopkins, 323 pp., $35, February 1992, 0 943875 30 7
Show More
Show More
... extract from Staring at the Sun by Julian Barnes (b. 1946), although nothing from Shuttlecock, by Graham Swift (b. 1949), which gives the best description I know of the territory, real and psychological, in which his generation grew up in Britain: What attracted me then about Camber was less its whispering billows of sand and wheeling black-headed gulls ...


Adam Mars-Jones: Kazuo Ishiguro, 5 March 2015

The Buried Giant 
by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Faber, 345 pp., £20, March 2015, 978 0 571 31503 1
Show More
Show More
... who could also be described as preferring doggedness to seduction or pyrotechnics, and that’s Graham Swift. Swift’s 2003 novel The Light of Day, for instance, titrates basic narrative information from the stingiest of pipettes, but the relentless slowness of the additive process only adds to the tension ...

The Coat in Question

Iain Sinclair: Margate, 20 March 2003

All the Devils Are Here 
by David Seabrook.
Granta, 192 pp., £7.99, March 2003, 9781862075597
Show More
Show More
... a sort of Derek Raymond autopsy on Margate, appeals to Seabrook, the pulp addict, in ways that Graham Swift and his Last Orders never could. Seabrook takes his Faulkner neat, binge reading, with chasers of Sir Thomas Browne and a dozen ghosted gangland memoirs. As an archivist of the 1960s (Kennedy, Keeler, Profumo), Frewin was the subject of one of ...

The Mask Now

Jorie Graham, 3 November 2016

... expression. An old stream flows alongside. Glimmering tongues promise the vanishing will be swift. It’s a lie. The periphery disappears but I can still feel it, our knowing what’s coming a thicket we got lost in – till the only thing is now – mask my spirit screams – mask now – vacancy not coming fast enough – before we have to traverse ...

Four Poems

Jorie Graham, 5 July 2001

... red shrimp punctually all along the highs of each upskirting arc – prongs upright, stiff. Swift ticks of sunlight count them out. Who has enough? A little distance back two vultures feeding on a pelican. Later, claws and beak float in the brack. Foam-bits lace-up the edge of the retreat. Something feels like it’s not coming back. In the tidepool ...

What a carry-on

Seamus Perry: W.S. Graham, 18 July 2019

W.S. GrahamNew Selected Poems 
edited by Matthew Francis.
Faber, 144 pp., £12.99, September 2018, 978 0 571 34844 2
Show More
W.S. Graham 
edited by Michael Hofmann.
NYRB, 152 pp., £9.99, October 2018, 978 1 68137 276 1
Show More
Show More
... Many poets​ end up having a hard life but W.S. Graham went out of his way to have one. His dedication to poetry, about which he seems never to have had a second thought, was remorseless, and his instinct, surely a peculiarly modern one, was that the way to nurture his creativity was to have a really bad time. ‘The poet or painter steers his life to maim//Himself somehow for the job,’ he wrote in a posthumous address to the painter Peter Lanyon ...

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences