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Barnes & Noble Review: England and Other Stories

England is the motherland of much of today’s most admired literature. Graham Swift takes us into working class London where we get a good view into the economy and everyday life through his dry humor and passionate detailing.

grahamswiftThe psychological acuity, compressed emotion and profound compassion of the most affecting of Swift’s stories reaffirm his debt to Chekhov and, odd to find in such a master of plainness, to Henry James. “When the glass doors slid open and he emerged into the cold and darkening air of a November afternoon it was a sort of shock, but also a kind of canceling continuity, to know the world was still there,” the doomed patient observes with Jamesian precision. The distinctly English world is indeed here from ” . . . the privet hedge juddering in the wind” in suburbia to the desolate moors ” . . . and up ahead, in the scoops between the hills, the first glimpses of the sea.” In the foreground are Swift’s characters, some glimpsed in passing, others held in view long enough for us to grasp why one might conclude, “What a terrible thing it can be just to be on this earth.”



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